Hopkins County Commissioners Court this week approved a Johnson & Johnson Opioid Settlement agreement. County of Hopkins Vs. Purdue Pharma L.P., Et Al Cause No. 2018-166 is one of several lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that manufactured opioids Hopkins County has joined in previous years, according to Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom.
“A number of years ago, we went into a lawsuit against the companies producing opiates that have really caused destruction across the United States. We went in as Hopkins County,” Newsom explained during the regular meeting of the Commissioners Court held earlier this week.
As part of the settlement of the suit, Hopkins County will receive $39,365 from Johnson & Johnson, as one lump sum settlement instead of multiple payments over time.
“This money has to be used for reparations of the opioid problems in Hopkins County. We did have many a few number of years ago. It’s better now. We will be working on that with the sheriff and with other county officials as well, perhaps the hospital, to use that money properly,” Newsom said. “It is a good thing. We’ve got several other companies that have been sued. This is just the first of several we will be taking up the next few months,” Newsom said during the Oct. 25, 2021 Commissioners Court session.
Paxton Announces Details of $290 Million Opioid Settlement
According to an Oct. 26, 2021, release from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the funding is part of an overall $290 million statewide opioid settlement with Johnson & Johnson to resolve opioid-related claims. The agreement will largely track the terms of the Global Prescription Opioid Litigation Settlement Agreement that was announced July 23, 2021. As part of the settlement, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $291,841,754.89 into the Qualified Settlement Fund, representing Texas’s allocation of the Global Abatement Settlement.
“I am pleased that all parties have reached final agreement on this monumental settlement. This is the next step to bring much-needed funding for Texans who have fallen victim to the irresponsible and deceptive marketing practices from opioid manufacturers that spurred this epidemic,” Attorney General Paxton said. “My office will continue to aggressively work to hold those accountable for causing this crisis. These funds will bring life-changing resources to those victimized by this tragic crisis.”
In addition to the funds from Johnson & Johnson, Texas is also slated to receive up to $1.2 billion from the three distributors, which will bring to Texas up to $1.5 billion in funding for statewide opioid abatement efforts, the AG reported.
According to the 111-page Janssen Texas State-Wide Opioid Settlement Agreement and Settlement Term Sheet posted by the AG’s office Tuesday, several local entities, including Hopkins County will receive a portion of funding, which would resolve Janssen’s portion of the suits: State of Texas v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. et al., Cause No. D-1-GN-19-005458; County of Dallas v. Purdue Pharma, L.P. et al., MDL Pretrial Cause No. 2018-77098 and County of Bexar v. Purdue Pharma, L.P. et al., MDL Pretrial Cause No. 2018-77066, both bellwether cases in In re: Texas Opioid Litigation, MDL No. 18-0358 (Harris County, Texas); Tarrant County v. Purdue Pharma, L.P. et al., MDL No. 2804, Case No. TXN/3:18-cv00518; and cases brought by Participating Subdivisions. Janssen doesn’t admit to “any violation of law, rule, or regulation, or of any other matter of fact or law, or of any liability or wrongdoing.”
Texas municipal area allocations combined account for 15 percent or $15 million of the overall settlement. County numbers refer to distribution to the county governments after payment to cities within county borders has been made. Minimum distribution to each county is $1,000, according to Exhibit B of the settlement document posted by the AG’s Office.
Among the local municipal area allocations are the following:
|Municipalities in Hopkins and Surrounding Counties||Northeast Texas Counties|
|Campbell – $1,116||Bowie – $83,620|
|Como – $415||Camp – $28,851|
|Commerce – $33,869||Cass – $93,155|
|Cooper – $362||Collin – $1,266,721|
|Cumby – $5,320||Delta – $30,584|
|Emory – $3,878||Fannin – $131,653|
|Greenville – $203,112||Franklin County – $3,931|
|Hawkins – $7,932||Gregg – $234,744|
|Mineola – $48,719||Harrison – $185,910|
|Mount Pleasant $65,684||Hopkins – $149,518|
|Mount Vernon – $6,049||Hunt County – $309,851|
|Paris – $201,180||Kaufman – $27,607|
|Pecan Gap – $719||Lamar County – $141,598|
|Pilot Point – $11,613||Marion – $275|
|Rockwall -$114,308||Rains County – $53,190|
|Sulphur Springs – $124,603||Red River County $29,306|
|Talco – $372||Rockwall – $168,820|
|Tira – $185||Smith- $758,961|
|Tyler – $723,829||Titus – $70,611|
|Winfield – $290||Upshur – $128,300|
|Winnsboro – $28,791||Van Zandt – $248,747|
|Yantis $2,072||Wood County – $267,048|
The Texas Opioid Council and Health Care Region Allocation plus Administrative Costs would get 70 percent or $700 million of the overall settlement announced Tuesday. That is $693 million for Health Care Region Allocations and $7 million for administrative costs.
Region 1 which includes Anderson, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Rains, Red, River, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Upshur, Van, Zandt and Wood counties would receive $38,223,336, according to Exhibit C of the settlement document posted by the AG’s Office Oct. 26, 2021.