State looks to curb local opioid, vaping lawsuits

Business groups and Kansas’s Republican attorney general are pushing for a state law that could prevent cities, counties and local school districts from suing big corporations such as opioid and vaping products manufacturers.

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March 6, 2020 - 3:16 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Business groups and Kansas’s Republican attorney general are pushing for a state law that could prevent cities, counties and local school districts from suing big corporations such as opioid and vaping products manufacturers.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt has worried that a raft of private lawsuits complicates efforts by states to broker broad legal settlements. An arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce contends that trial attorneys are pushing local officials into a wave a litigation amounting to a “shakedown.”

The proposal would give Schmidt’s office oversight of local officials’ decisions to hire outside attorneys, and it’s modeled after a law Texas enacted last year. The idea was among suggestions made by the U.S. Chamber’s Institute of Legal Reform in a report last year, and there are similar proposals in at least a few other states, including Arizona, Florida and Tennessee.

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