CARSON CITY — Attorney General Aaron Ford’s former law firm will represent Nevada in its lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, Ford’s office announced Tuesday.
That firm, Eglet Prince, will work on a contingency fee, meaning they will only be paid if they win the case. Eglet Prince is also representing several local municipalities, including Las Vegas, Clark County, Henderson and Reno, in similar lawsuits.
The attorney general’s office said in January that Ford, who was a partner as the firm until shortly before taking office in January, had recused himself from the selection process. Eglet Prince was chosen by from a pool of nine proposals by a seven-member selection committee.
“The opioid crisis has devastated our communities, and claimed the lives of too many Nevadans,” said Consumer Advocate Ernest Figueroa, who was part of the selection committee, in a statement. “By contracting with contingent fee counsel to work in conjunction with the Attorney General’s office, the state of Nevada will be a formidable force to seek justice for those who have harmed our residents and state.”
Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in May sued Purdue Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of the brand-name oxycodone prescription OxyContin, alleging the company understated the risks associated with opioid use while exaggerating the benefits. The lawsuit further claimed that the pharmaceutical company trained salespeople to downplay addiction risk; funded research of field experts who led talks with health care professionals on opioid prescribing; told patients that long-term use of their drugs would help them resume daily activities; and distorted data on OxyContin’s 12-hour effectiveness.
Per state regulation, the contract between the state and Eglet Prince will be posted on the attorney general’s website once it has formally been awarded. The office said that it will also make public the other eight proposals upon request.
Ernest Figueroa, Nevada’s Consumer Advocate
Mark Krueger, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection
Matthew Milone, Senior Associate Dean, Legal Affairs, UNR School of Medicine
John. A. O’Rourke, Colonel, Nevada Highway Patrol
Dagny Stapleton, Executive Director, Nevada Association of Counties
Laura Tucker, Senior Deputy Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection
Stephanie Woodard, PhD, Senior Advisor, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services