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Judge sanctions Ottawa County for delaying distribution of opioid settlement funds

Ottawa County Administration Building
Ottawa County Administration Building

Michigan Attorney General's office says 'frivolous' lawsuit to blame

The Third Circuit Court Thursday announced it had sanctioned Ottawa County for delaying over $80 million in opioid settlement funds from going out to other municipalities across Michigan.

According to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, Ottawa County is one of more than 260 counties, municipalities and townships in Michigan that agreed to a settlement from three pharmaceutical companies that are required to allocate roughly $388 million for their role in the opioid epidemic; Ottawa County’s cut being just over $2.5 million.

The Attorney General’s office says however, that Ottawa County originally had agreed to those terms, then filed a lawsuit demanding it receive more funds.

The move, as a result, tied up the settlement money that other local governments were set to receive, as more than 50 local governments joined with the Attorney General to request sanctions against Ottawa County.

On Thursday, Judge Fresard of the Third Circuit Court agreed, sanctioning Ottawa County for delaying the disbursement Opioid Settlement funds while dismissing Ottawa’s lawsuit.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released this statement which says in part,

“Ottawa County held up this significant settlement distribution from which its residents stand to gain greatly. Judge Fresard’s sanctions properly reflect the frivolous nature of Ottawa County’s misuse of the courts,”

Officials say Ottawa will not forfeit its settlement funds as a result, but sanctions will be determined at hearing on May 10th.