Commissioners opt out of national opiate litigation |

Commissioners opt out of national opiate litigation

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus
Churchill County commissioners presented a $5,000 check as part of its community support funding to the Fallon Community Theater. From left are commissioners Carl Erquiaga and Pete Olsen, Mike Berney from the Fallon Community Theater and Commissioner Bus Scharmann.
Steve Ranson / LVN

Churchill County commissioners voted Oct. 16 to opt out of a nationwide negotiation class involved with national prescription opiate litigation and join a statewide group.

After breaking out for a conference call near the end of their meeting, commissioners returned to vote. If the county remained with the negotiation class, it would’ve been lumped in with other cities and counties seeking a global settlement of claims related to the opioid crisis.

Ben Shawcroft, deputy district attorney who advises the commission, said the negotiation class that consisted of about 2,000 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors in federal court is being presided by a judge in Cleveland, Ohio.

“If we don’t want to be part of that class, we can opt out,” he said, before commissioners voted 3-0 to withdraw.

Instead, Shawcroft said every city and county in Nevada has hired a Las Vegas attorney to represent them in any litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“We haven’t filed any cases out of Churchill County,” Shawcroft said. “There are active cases in Las Vegas and Reno.”

Commissioners also recognized two county organizations, the Fallon Lions Club Junior Rodeo and the Fallon Community Theater, Inc.

Jennifur Peek, rodeo secretary, told commissioners this year’s Labor Day weekend rodeo was a success. She said 130 contestants from a five states signed up for the three-day rodeo and raised $20,000 from 55 sponsors. Peek introduced Lauren Goings, this year’s junior rodeo queen.

As a token of their appreciation, Peek and Goings presented the commissioners with a special belt buckle.

Commissioners also voted to award $5,000 in community support funding to Mike Berney, who was representing the theater. He gave a report on the theater’s activities for the past year.

“We do a lot of neat things for the community,” he said.

The theater hosted two candidate nights in 2018, presented movies including “Operation Hay Lift,” which in actuality, Fallon was an integral part of the mission in the late 1940s; showed University of Nevada Wolf Pack sports games; and worked with the museum and other organizations.

Berney said the theater recently received a $37,000 grant from the state of Nevada that will be earmarked for roof repair, plumbing and the replacement of sheet rock.

“We also want to get new heating and air conditioning,” he added.

Berney said the theater, which will celebrate its centennial anniversary next year, keeps its costs down with memberships and an all-volunteer staff except for a custodian.

Commissioners voted to approve a subscription to CylancePROTECT Security Platform. Scott Hanshaw, account manager for IQ Technology Solutions, said hackers have been focusing their attacks on government agency computers. He said the introduction of certain types of malware have left systems inoperable, and the hackers have demanded a ransom to restore services.

The cost for 280 ending points will be $840 per month, and the approval will extend to June 2021.

Ken Collum, field manager for the Stillwater Field Office, Carson City District of the Bureau of Land Management, updated commissioners on recent activity. He said the BLM, Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have sent their recommendations to the Navy regarding the proposed land withdrawal for the Fallon Training Range Complex. He said concerns have arisen with mining claims, grazing and the Stillwater refuge.

Collum said a wild horse and burro gather is scheduled for Dec. 2 on the east side of the Desatoya Range.

Drill seeding began last week on two burn areas that consumed almost 50,000 acres east of Fallon in July 2017.

Cullum said the BLM is expecting 3,000 people will visit the Sand Mountain Recreation Area over the Nevada Day weekend.

Kathryn Dyer of the BLM gave an update on targeted grazing of the annual grasses in the Great Basin ecoregions.