Angelina County’s opioid lawsuit is now pending in federal courts, County Attorney Cary Kirby said.

County commissioners authorized Simon, Greenstone & Panatier, P.C., Paul D. Henderson, P.C. and Dies & Parkhurst, L.L.P. to pursue a lawsuit regarding the opioid epidemic’s impact on Angelina County on Aug. 14, 2018.

Jeffery Simon was designated as the lead counsel for the case and JoDee Neil, from the same firm, updated the county on the lawsuit’s status at the last meeting, Kirby said.

“The attorneys retained in this case are working on a contingent fee contract and there is no out-of-pocket cost or expense to the county,” he said. “ ... Several opioid manufacturers were named as defendants in the original petition, including Purdue Pharma, a large manufacturer which recently filed for bankruptcy.”

The petition was filed on Nov. 14, 2018, in the 159th Judicial District Court of Angelina County but then the case was transferred to the 152nd Judicial District court in Harris County and consolidated with other, similar cases.

Purdue had the case moved to federal court, which would be in the Southern District of Texas, in December, but it was later moved back to the Harris County District Court.

The county filed the first amendment to the position on Aug. 23 that add more distributors and retailers as defendants and one of those added — the McKesson Corp. — had it moved back to federal court.

“As I understand the current status, motions have been or will be filed by the attorneys for Angelina County seeking to have the case remanded back to the state district court for pre-trial and trial purposes,” Kirby said.

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