HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The state, several counties and the city of Huntsville have all filed lawsuits against opioid makers. Huntsville's lawsuit was filed last month. But how long could it take for Huntsville to see any money from the litigation? The answer: years.
"Alabama having 5.8 million prescriptions written for opioids leads the country based on population on the number of opioid prescriptions written," Attorney Rob Riley told the Hunstville City Council in October.
The council voted to file a lawsuit against drug makers on October 24.
Huntsville's suit is one of about 2000, all of which are being overseen by the same judge in an Ohio federal court.
Riley, the son of former governor Bob Riley is an attorney for the firm representing the city in the case. The Riley & Jackson firm began representing Jefferson county two years ago for the litigation. The firm also represents the city of Mountain Brook and two counties in Florida for the litigation as well.
Riley says the legal process could take years. The next step is showing how the opioid epidemic hit the city's wallet.
"I wasn't sure that we were damaged and as we canvassed our police, our fire, our public safety, canvassed our sheriff about jail, jail costs, it became pretty obvious that our community had been damaged in this and that there had been a cost out," Mayor Tommy Battle said on October 24.
Some of the information that must be provided is a list of expenditures made since January 1, 2018, related to damages from the opioid epidemic. These include law enforcement, court, public health, child and family services, and other related expenses.
After that, the process is up in the air.
Madison County has also filed a lawsuit against opioid drugmakers. WHNT News 19 reached out to the county's attorney to learn more about the status of that case - and we have not heard back yet.