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
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,”
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.