On Wednesday, August 31, two consent judgments were filed in Maryland’s Circuit Court for Frederick County, allowing settlement funds from Johnson and Johnson and several major opioid medication distributors to flow to the state and its local governments.
The multi-state settlements involving Johnson and Johnson, McKesson, AmeriSourceBergen, and Cardinal Health are worth approximately $395M and were first announced by Attorney General Brian Frosh in September of 2021. As a precondition to the settlement, the defendants required each state to receive sign-on from their respective local subdivisions, meaning counties and municipalities.
MACo, on behalf of Maryland’s counties, joined with the Maryland Municipal League to establish a task force charged with determining an equitable split of settlement proceeds between the State of Maryland and its local subdivisions. In January of 2022, 58 of Maryland’s 60 qualifying subdivisions signed on to the negotiated agreement establishing a state/local subdivision split.
During the 2022 Maryland General Assembly Session, the division of funds agreement was codified into law. Per the agreement, counties were required to establish abatement funds into which settlement funds will be received by March 22, 2022. The Attorney General’s Office had anticipated the first round of settlement proceeds to be distributed in late April/early May.
However, one final step was needed in Maryland’s judicial process – a consent judgment or court-recognized agreement between the State and the defendants mentioned above to forgo a trial. While no revised estimate is available for the first round of settlement proceeds, settlement recipients should expect funds very soon.