HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – On Monday two Ohio counties announced a $260 million settlement agreement with major drug companies just hours before the first federal trial was set to begin.
“We’re ready to go, we’re ready to go,” says Rusty Webb, the attorney representing the City of Huntington. They too are suing the drug makers, and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams wants their day in court.
“I want to look those CEOs right dead in the eye and I want transparency, everything, every email that they were writing everything that they were doing knowingly pouring those pills into our community,” says Williams.
Webb says the settlement model on the table right isn’t a fair one for the mountain state, “it’s a population-based model so it gives large states more money and it takes absolutely no consideration for the disproportionate impact that it’s had on small states.” Webb later goes on to say, “West Virginia gets virtually nothing, less than 1% of $22 billion, yet we are the ones most highly impacted because we had more pills per capita than any other state in the nation.”
With the number of lives lost and families torn apart and the financial burden on the city, the counties, and on civic organizations, Mayor Williams has seen it all first hand and says you can’t put a price on what the opioid crisis has cost his community.
“They kicked us in the gut now they are slapping us in the face,” says Williams, “I’m not looking to fix the past I’m looking to have the resources to fix what they created what they did to us over the next four decades.”
The two Ohio counties that settled yesterday may still jump back in front of West Virginia because they didn’t settle with everyone they were suing and that part could resume after the first of the year.