Clallam fee for opioid lawsuit reduced

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County, which is joining more than 200 other litigants in suing opioid makers and wholesale distributors in federal district court, will be paying a little less in fees after action taken Tuesday.

The three Clallam County commissioners agreed to revise the county’s agreement with Keller Rohrback L.L.P. to reduce fees from 22 percent to 20 percent on the first $10 million and from 20 percent to 18 percent on recovery between $10 million and $20 million.

The commissioners had agreed to pay the higher fees during their meeting Feb. 13, but later that day the firm wrote back to the county to lower the fees.

“It’s clearly in our favor,” said County Administrator Jim Jones. “There is no reason … why the board would change their mind.”

Jones said that because this marks a significant change in the contract, it needed to come before the board again.

County officials said the law firm didn’t explain why it would collect lower fees, but that the changes to the contract were necessary.

The Board of Health last month recommended the county pursue legal action against manufacturers including Purdue Pharma, drug distributors and “pill mills” where addictive prescription painkillers are dispensed under loose parameters. It will not be part of a class-action lawsuit, but instead a separate filing among more than 200 lawsuits that have already been filed.

Keller Rohrback would receive payment for the lawsuit if Clallam County is awarded damages under a settlement or guilty verdict.

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