Law firms ask communities to sign on to opioid litigation

By M.E. Jones, Correspondent

SHIRLEY — Law firms across the state have banded together to form MOLA, (Massachusetts Opioid Litigation Attorneys) joining other top firms across the country in the fight against opioid addiction, using the best tool available to them: the law. Bringing that battle home, one of those firms, K.P. Law, is reaching out to the Massachusetts municipalities it represents, including Shirley.

The selectmen were on the list.

Paging through correspondence at Monday night’s meeting, Chairman Holly Haase noted the KP Law letter, which points to resources the community can access to “get involved” as the litigation moves forward. The letter states that in this case there will be no cost to the town for signing on.

Basically, the lawsuit — filed on behalf of state taxpayers — targets pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors and seeks to recover “monetary damages” for past costs Massachusetts municipalities have incurred due to the opioid epidemic, including law enforcement, needle exchanges, NARCAN, EMS, treatments and other services, all of which tap taxpayer dollars. The lawsuit further seeks to cover the cost of future services aimed at prevention and education as well as treatment.

Selectman Enrico Cappucci said it sounds like a good idea, noting that a major drug manufacturer, perhaps spurred by MOLA, had recently announced its sales representatives would no longer market Oxycontin, one of the most addictive opioids, to doctors.


“I believe its something we should look into,” he said.

Haase agreed, proposing to post the information on the town website to gather feedback from citizens.

“We’ll bring (the community’s input) back to the board,” she said.

Traffic Problems

In other business, Haase noted an e-mail from a Walker Road resident, complaining about heavy traffic, specifically car carriers and tow trucks that are “beating the road to death,” and speeding. The vehicles are not headed for a nearby junk yard but are traversing the entire road, the resident wrote, indicating that the vehicles are heading for Great Road, or Route 2A, and a different business that generates such traffic, a salvage yard on Going Road, off Great Road.

Haase and Cappucci, the two members of the three-person board who were present, agreed to invite

Police Chief Samuel Santiago in to talk about the problem. “He plans a presentation,” Cappucci said.

Gallery Rights?

Haase also noted a letter from a resident who is a photographer asking to display his photos of Shirley sites around the bare white walls of town hall.

“Sure, but not for sale,” Cappucci said,

Haase said she could envision a revolving display scenario, to bring in other local artist’s work as well.

Interim Town Administrator Travis Miller raised a concern. There would need to be a policy to ensure that “objectionable” items could be ruled out without stirring up anyone’s dander. The board agreed he should work on that and bring back a draft proposal.

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