Nirenberg: City will do whatever it takes to win opioid lawsuit

Trial date, damages sought, still undetermined

Mayor Ron Nirenberg explains why the city of San Antonio took a different path than Bexar County did in battling opioid lawsuits.

SAN ANTONIO – Mayor Ron Nirenberg admits it won't be easy, but said the city will do whatever it can to get pharmaceutical companies to pay up for causing the opioid epidemic in San Antonio.

Earlier this month, the San Antonio City Council unanimously voted to join thousands of other jurisdictions across the country in a national opioid lawsuit.

"These big pharmaceutical manufacturers knew their products were highly addictive. (They) were marketing them as nonaddictive treatments for chronic pain," Nirenberg said.

Bexar County filed a similar lawsuit, seeking $1 billion, but right now it's still unclear how much money the city is seeking. Nirenberg said lawyers hired by the city are still assessing the cost of damages.

"So the city has a different damage model. Bexar County has, you know, the University Health System, which has a different assessment," Nirenberg said.

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In the meantime, attorneys are working under a contingency agreement, meaning they only get paid if money is awarded.

"If the cities are not successful in getting damages from the opioid manufacturers, we also are not putting taxpayers on the hook for that," Nirenberg said.

No trial date has been set.

About the Authors:

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.