Nevada negotiating with law firm to address opioid crisis | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada negotiating with law firm to address opioid crisis

Nevada Appeal staff report

On Tuesday, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office announced the State of Nevada has entered into contract negotiations with the Nevada-based law office of Eglet Prince to address Nevada’s opioid epidemic.

Outside counsel will be retained to assist in the investigation and litigation of the manufacture, distribution, marketing and sale of opioids that have caused or contributed to Nevada’s opioid epidemic, a press release stated

The process for contingent fee counsel was initiated on Jan. 24 when Gov. Steve Sisolak, in consultation with the Attorney General Aaron Ford, issued a declaration. The governor’s declaration recognized Nevada is combating an opioid epidemic, and the state should enter into a contingent fee contract with outside counsel in order to represent the state in litigation.

In order to pursue this contract, the state used a first-of-its-kind process created during the 2015 legislative session that required the governor and the attorney general to consult about the use of outside counsel, and when agreed upon, to request approval from Nevada’s Interim Finance Committee in order to move forward and enter into a contract. On Jan. 30, the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection requested and obtained approval from the Interim Finance Committee to work in conjunction with the State Purchasing Division to advertise for outside counsel through a competitive bidding process.

While there’s no present conflict of interest, Ford voluntarily recused himself from the competitive bidding process and the following contract negotiation, a press release from the attorney general’s office stated. An evaluation committee was appointed, and began working in conjunction with the State Purchasing Division to advertise for outside counsel.

“The opioid crisis has devastated our communities, and claimed the lives of too many Nevadans,” said Consumer Advocate Ernest Figueroa. “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 against those who have harmed our residents and State.”

Those on the evaluation committee were:

Figueroa; 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.

The evaluation committee received a total of nine proposals. A Letter of Intent was issued today announcing the law office of Eglet Prince as the winning bidder.

After the contract is awarded the contract will be posted to the Attorney General’s website. All billing records and receipts and the payment of any fees by the Attorney General’s Office to the contracted law firm will be posted to the Attorney General’s website under the “AG Topics” tab.