Florida School District Takes Lead in Opioid Lawsuit

TALLAHASSEE --- The Putnam County School District in northeast Florida is the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit by Florida districts against a consulting firm that worked with drugmakers.

The case accuses McKinsey & Company of "advising... opioid manufacturers and other(s)...on how to sell as many opioids as conceivably possible." The suit alleges that McKinsey gave advice on how to "turbocharge" sales as they began to decline.

McKinsey last year agreed to pay more than $600 million to 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia to settle litigation over its role in the epidemic. Florida is slated to receive about $40 million under the settlement, in which McKinsey admitted no wrongdoing.

But a Jacksonville attorney on the legal team tells the News Service of Florida that schools won't directly benefit from the settlement, and taxpayers are on the hook for services to students affected by the opioid crises, as required by federal law.

The Florida case is expectged to be combined with cases from other states, as state attorneys general fight it to protect their settlement. McKinsey argues that the consent judgments with states mean that any lawsuits by school boards should be thrown out.

Schools, however, won’t directly benefit from the states’ settlement with McKinsey, Wayne Hogan, a Jacksonville attorney who is on the legal team representing Florida school districts, told The News Service of Florida in a phone interview.

Meanwhile, he said schools are providing “mitigation and abatement services” to students who were affected by the opioid crisis, as required by federal law.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Photo: Getty Images

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