Yost Says Any Opioid Lawsuit Award Should Go Back To Locals

Sep 18, 2019

After taking heat for arguing the state should have a lead role in next month’s huge opioid trial in Cleveland, Ohio’s attorney general says he wants to be clear that he thinks any money won should be spent at the local level. 

Last month, AG Dave Yost backed a bill that would have given his office control of more than a hundred lawsuits filed by local governments in that trial, saying individual cities and counties are litigating pieces of the state’s claims. He'd also asked a district court of appeals to delay the opioid lawsuit in federal court until Ohio's case is resolved.

But Yost stresses any verdict or settlement funds should go to foster care, law enforcement, prosecutors, first responders and treatment. And he said he wanted to make that clear.

“As a practical matter, if we’re going to use any of this money to fix the problem – which we absolutely ought to do – then it’s going to have to go back to the local level. I am for that," Yost said.

The bill would have allocated 10 percent of any award to Yost’s office and outside firms that worked on the case. The remaining 90 percent would be up to state lawmakers to parcel out, but at least 20 percent woudl go to local governments.

Local governments and prosecutors had accused Yost of trying a power grab, and Gov. Mike DeWine said he thought the proposal would be unfair and a mistake.