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Rochester's Mayor looks to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors

 Downtown Rochester skyline view.
Max Schulte
Downtown Rochester skyline view.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is asking City Council to authorize a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The proposal would see the city’s attorney work with  a New York City based law firm, Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, to represent the city.

It would not cost Rochester money out-of-pocket, and if the city were to be successful in its suit, the New York City law firm would not get more than 25% of whatever money is collected from the opioid industry.

Warren says that a number of municipalities have retained Napoli Shkolnik to pursue this kind of legal action, as they seek to recover damages in the form of increased expenses to municipalities and their taxpayers.

The mayor says that in Rochester’s case, it has resulted in increased demands on the city police and fire departments and other expenditures needed to respond to the ongoing epidemic.

A reportfrom the Monroe County Heroin Task force indicates that there were more than 1,000 overdoses reported over the last year.

Last year, Monroe County took similar action,joining nationwide lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Rochester City Council could take up the mayor’s proposal at its March 19 meeting.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.