City council to weigh suing opioid producers, distributors

December 18, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — The City Council will hold an executive session this afternoon and may later take action in its regular meeting to discuss whether to pursue legal action against producers and distributors of opioids.

Executive sessions are closed to the public, in this case to receive legal advice. The council is scheduled to discuss and possibly take action on this matter during its regular meeting that begins at 5:30 p.m.

Stated action is to have law firms seek and participate in legal proceedings that would allow the city to potentially obtain “financial redress” from “producers, distributors, and other parties responsible for contributing to the current opioid epidemic and its economic effects on the city.”

The law firms Andrews & Thornton, in Newport Beach, California, and Robins Kaplan L.L.P., which has an office in Los Angeles along with other locations across the United States, have been in the news for opioid-related legal work. Fennemore Craig P.C. has six offices in the West including three Arizona locations — Phoenix, Tucson and Nogales — and Las Vegas.

All three firms represent various government or tribal interests seeking money from the sources and are the firms with which the city would work. The city wouldn’t pay the firms if no money is recouped, but would allow them a percentage of money received from targeted opioid interests, according to the staff report.

Also on the council’s regular agenda:

Discussing a potential $5 fee to personal watercraft businesses for each consumer advisory form. The money would help finance the city’s river safety program operated by the Bullhead City Police Department and Contemporary Services Corporation that started in the summer of 2016. A final council vote about the fee and necessary code changes would occur in February or March. The report on the item was submitted by City Manager Toby Cotter. Allowing four more years for the developer of Laughlin Ranch to apply for building permits for four parcels: 1495 Riverport Drive and 2651, 2701, and 2571 Laughlin Ranch Boulevard. Plats for the sites were established in 2004 and zoning map change was made in 2005. The first building permit deadline was established for 2007. Other extensions have been allowed in 2008, 2009 and 2013, according to the staff report.Granting a request for a zoning map change to a 1.95-acre parcel at 2960 Highway 95 known as “Enchanted Acres.” Currently zoned as Residential Single-Family Limited District, it would become General Commercial District, or C2.Abandoning a 16-foot public utility easement at 2179 Highway 95 described as “Holiday Highlands.”

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