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Domina Stands Firm for Separate Opioids MDL Track for Native American Cases

Attorney David Domina, who represents the four Native American tribes in Nebraska, is fighting to secure his clients a separate track in the massive multidistrict litigation addressing the opioid epidemic to ensure that they receive the legal outcome they need (PDF).

“There is a very important distinction to be drawn between a settlement and a solution,” said Domina. “You settle a lot of civil lawsuits by who's going to pay whom how much, but right now, and certainly for Native people, this litigation is more than a math problem over dollars.”

The problems the Ponca Tribe, Winnebago Tribe, Omaha Tribe, and Santee Sioux Nation have faced because of prescription painkillers go beyond monetary damages. In order to address these problems and create a path forward, the tribes are hoping to secure a long-term solution that includes opioid industry reform and education to help reverse the epidemic in their communities.

U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster, who is handling the multidistrict litigation, is seeking a broad settlement and is seeking to do it on a fast timetable. While this urgency is important, Domina is concerned that its emphasis could result in the tribes needs being overlooked, including staggering unemployment rates and some of the highest addiction rates in the country.

“Some things of interest to the tribes would never occur to the current MDL structure because they're unique to tribal governments,” Domina said.

At a hearing in Cleveland, OH, Judge Polster noted that the tribes were,

“disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic” and stressed that “if there is a resolution, there won't be one without them, so this court is not going to marginalize them ... whether they're a separate track or an integral part of the plaintiffs' track.”

The Domina Law Group has spent decades representing Native America tribes in Nebraska, and we are committed to securing the legal outcome our clients need to put them in the best position possible. If you are looking to contact our firm, give us a call at (888) 387-4134 or fill out our online form today.

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