Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 3:22 PM

Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

Following in the footsteps of the city of Dayton and the state of Ohio, Montgomery County plans to sue drug companies or others that county officials allege helped cause the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that has ravaged the Dayton region and communities across the country.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Montgomery County commissioners announced they have approved an agreement with Motley Rice, one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms, to take legal action against “individuals and entities related to the marketing, prescribing, distribution or sale of opioids.”

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Montgomery County has hired the firm to investigate and then litigate claims related to the marketing and overprescribing of powerful opioid medications, said Mary Montgomery, chief of civil division of the Montomery County prosecutor’s office.

She said the goal is to hold those people and companies responsible for the opioid crisis accountable for it and try to recover the costs to taxpayers. That includes drug treatment programs, medical care, hospitalizations, law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration, Montgomery said.

Other costs include caring for the children whose parents have died of a drug overdose or who have lost custody because of their drug use, she said.

“Any money recovered will be for treatment programs as well as to reimburse the county for all of the expenses just mentioned,” she said.

Montgomery County has been particularly hard-hit by the opiate crisis, county officials said, noting that between 60 to 70 percent of the bodies in the county morgue last summer were overdose victims.

In 2016, prescribers in the county wrote almost 93 opioid prescriptions for every 100 residents, and there were more opioid prescriptions written each year between 2006 and 2015 than there were people living in the county, said Montomery.

“Nationally, the economic toll of the opioid crisis is estimated to have topped $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017,” she said.

Motley Rice, based in Washington, D.C., is lead counsel in lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies by the city of Chicago and Santa Clara County. The firm also represents four states, seven counties and a handful of cities and townships in other opioid-related litigation.

Last year, Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley in California, reached a $1.6 million settlement with drug maker Teva over “deceptive” marketing of prescription opioid painkillers, according to Motley Rice.

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Closer to home, the city of Dayton last June announced it was suing more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, distributors and pain specialists who city officials allege misrepresented the dangers of opioid medications and profited from opioid dependency and use.

This is about basic fairness for Montgomery County taxpayers, and the companies that ignited and fed this deadly epidemic should help clean it up, said Commissioner Dan Foley.

“We believe … that the drug companies have a moral obligation to pay our community back,” Foley said.

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Gone lickety-split: New downtown Dayton homes sell out

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 12:33 PM

Simms new housing is almost sold out

The 14 new City View townhouses have sold out just about 13 months after hitting the market, making it Charlie Simms’ fastest downtown housing project to run out of product.

City View was Charles Simms Development’s sixth downtown housing project. Simms’ first project — the Patterson Square town homes, built in 2011 — took a couple of years to sell out.

Simms Development released pricing of the City View homes in February 2017, meaning it sold out four months quicker than its Brownstones at 2nd project.

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“We would consider this a record sellout in all aspects for a downtown development,” said Robi Simms, vice president of sales and marketing with Charles Simms Development.

The homes sold out quickly even though they commanded much higher prices than Simms’ earlier housing.

The Patterson Square townhomes, at East First Street and North Patterson Boulevard, started at about $139,900, or about $100 per square foot. The City View homes, located a few blocks away on South Patterson Boulevard, have been selling for almost $200 per square foot.

The pricing of the Brownstones at 2nd were $200,000 and up range, while the City View homes have sold in the mid to upper-$300,000 range.

RELATED: Buyers snap up urban townhouses in downtown Dayton

The exterior of the City View homes is urban and modern. This was a departure for Simms, whose five previous downtown projects were traditional-style brownstones and brick homes.

Simms last month told this newspaper he intended to continue building new homes downtown for the foreseeable future. He said the demand for new housing in the urban center far outstrips the supply.

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Prosecutors seeking death penalty against Nikolas Cruz, confessed Parkland gunman 

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 2:31 PM

Confessed Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on February 19, 2018 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  
Pool/Getty Images
Confessed Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on February 19, 2018 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (Pool/Getty Images)

Florida prosecutors will ask for the death penalty for confessed Parkland school gunman Nikolas Cruz, State Attorney Michael Satz said Tuesday. 

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Satz said he filed a "notice of intent to seek death" in the 17 first-degree murder counts stemming from the Feb. 14 rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 14 students and three adults dead.

Cruz is also charged with attempted murder in the shootings of 17 others who survived.

Cruz is scheduled for an arraignment Wednesday on the murder and attempted murder charges.

Cruz offered to plead guilty to the charges several weeks ago if prosecutors removed the death penalty from the table.

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If he does reach a plea deal with prosecutors, the only other option for Cruz is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Dayton city commission race could be pastor Daryl vs pastor Darryl

Published: Friday, March 09, 2018 @ 11:19 AM

            Daryl Ward, the senior pastor at Omega Baptist Church, and Darryl Fairchild, manager of chaplain services at Dayton Children’s Hospital, have filed petitions to run for Dayton Commission.
Daryl Ward, the senior pastor at Omega Baptist Church, and Darryl Fairchild, manager of chaplain services at Dayton Children’s Hospital, have filed petitions to run for Dayton Commission.

Two well-known pastors have submitted petitions to run for the open Dayton City Commission seat in a special May election.

No other candidates filed petitions by Friday’s deadline.

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Daryl Ward, the senior pastor at Omega Baptist Church, and Darryl Fairchild, manager of chaplain services at Dayton Children’s Hospital, filed petitions to try to replace Commissioner Joey Williams, who resigned last month.

To appear on the ballot, candidates needed to collect 500 valid signatures of Dayton electors and submit them to the Montgomery County Board of Elections. The deadline to file was end of business hours Friday.

Ward turned in a petition with 1,441 signatures earlier this month. Fairchild’s petition, which he submitted Friday morning, contained 1,430 signatures.

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Ward, senior pastor at Omega Baptist Church, said he feels really encouraged by the amount of support the community has already shown him when he was out collecting signatures and starting to campaign.

“It’s been a wonderful thing, and I’ve already learned things about Dayton I didn’t know,” he said.

He said he believes he can make a difference but will have to show voters that he’s sincere and truly cares about making the community a better place.

Ward said he is looking forward to hitting the streets and talking to people about the challenges facing Dayton and what they think the city can do to improve people’s lives.

“We’ve got to face challenges together — it’s going to take all of us,” he said.

Fairchild said he’s battle tested and has good name recognition since this will be the third time in four years that he has run for a commission seat. He narrowly lost a seat to newcomer Chris Shaw in 2015, but was defeated by a much larger margin by incumbent commissioners Joey Williams and Jeff Mims Jr. last year.

Fairchild, who has known Ward for 30 years and was his student at United Theological Seminary, said he’s a little surprised Ward chose to run against him.

But Fairchild said they are friends and colleagues and he views Ward as a mentor.

“But we’re both athletes too, and we don’t shy away from competition,” Fairchild said. “We value the democratic process, and this is an opportunity for us to share our visions and put out our best ideas for the city and let the voters choose.”

Fairchild said he approved when a friend described him as “a political gym rat.”

»RELATED: Dayton special election set: Fairchild, Ward declare candidacies

Williams decided to step down just four months into his fifth term. Williams said his travel schedule with his new job kept meant he was too busy to give his commission responsibilities the attention they deserve.

Board of elections staff will review candidates’ petitions, and the board expects to certify petitions at its next meeting, March 20.

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Big downtown Dayton developer to turn empty property into offices

Published: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 9:23 AM
Updated: Friday, March 09, 2018 @ 10:13 AM

Water Street developer acquired East Third building

One of downtown Dayton’s most prolific developers plans to renovate a vacant building in the fast-growing Webster Station neighborhood to create new offices and spaces possibly for retail or dining options.

Woodard Development, one of the developers of the Water Street District, has acquired the former Lotz Paper Co. building at 607 E. Third St., which sits next to the renovated steam plant near the Cannery Loft apartments.

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Woodard Development wants to transform the upper floors of the five-story building into unique and “innovative” office spaces, said Jason Woodard, principal of the firm.

“It’s an area we really like,” Woodard said. “It’s right there in the path of growth and innovation.”

Webster Station has become one of the hottest neighborhoods in the region for new housing, but it’s also welcomed some new office product and commercial investment that is helping turn it into an “innovation district,” officials and developers say.

Development and city officials say they hope the new investment continues to spread to other vacant properties in the neighborhood, which had suffered from decades of job losses and disinvestment as heavy industry pulled out or shut down.

Woodard is in negotiations with the city of Dayton for another empty commercial property that is right next door to the building he just acquired.

Woodard Development has taken control of the Lotz paper building next to the former Dayton Power & Light steam plant, which has been renovated into offices and a swanky new event space.

Woodard’s plans are to renovate the vacant building into new office space. The building, which is about 35,000 square feet, will be called the Avant-Garde.

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