TAYLOR COUNTY—The Taylor County Commission received some funding through the CARES Act to help cover the costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Tuesday morning’s Taylor County Commission meeting, Hunter Mullins, of the Mullins and Mullins law firm who was working in conjunction with Chafin Law Firm, revealed that they had contacted grant writers to ensure that everyone was receiving the monies that they were entitled too.
“Through the CARES Act you could apply, but those grants had to be turned in by the end of the year,” Mullins explained.
He said that he worked with the commission’s administrative support Patricia Henderson and County Clerk Georgianna Thompson to have documents drawn up in an effort to try and secure as much funding as possible.
He said that in total, they were applying for $427,186.98 in funding, and that they were approved for $358,200.21.
“This is money you wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Mullins voiced.
He said that some of the money would go toward paying the grant writers, but he was pleased with the amount they were able to secure for the county.
“This money will go in our general fund, as reimbursement,” said Patricia Henderson. “It will be used to cover the cost of our sanitization efforts, as well as paying for overtime for some of our officers.”
Mullins reported that there was a possibility that the county could potentially submit applications in the near future for additional funding through the CARES Act.
“As long as there is money out there, we should work to get some reimbursement for the county,” he noted.
Additionally, during Tuesday’s meeting, Mullins updated the commissioners on the ongoing litigation during an executive session and no further information was provided.
In a continuing effort to fight against the ravages and destruction that the drug crisis has created, the Taylor County Commission joined with other counties to take legal action against some of the culprits nearly two year ago.
“As a result of the large drug distributors intentional actions, West Virginia has the highest overdose rate in the nation, leads the county in fatal drug overdoses and is the most medicated state,” remarked H. Truman Chafin, Esq, of The Chafin Law Firm. “Approximately 90 percent of Circuit Court criminal dockets involve drug abuse.”
He went on to reveal that the defendants in the case have distributed 2,543,400 doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone in Taylor County from 2007 to 2012.
“With a population of 16,977, per the 2013 census, this equals some 150 highly addictive and deadly pills for every man, woman and child in Taylor County,” Chafin reported.
He went on to disclose that the defendants made hundreds of billions of dollars in profits, with $17 billion in revenue made by shipping over 423 million doses of opioids to the state during that time.
Wright explained that deciding to join with the other counties to take action was an easy one.
“Basically, this class action type of suit is a no lose for us,” he said. “If the case doesn’t go in our favor, we aren’t out anything, because we don’t have to pay the lawyers unless there’s a settlement issued.”
According to Chafin, Taylor County will seek not only compensatory, but punitive damages, from the multi-national drug distributors for their intentional and reckless acts.
Commission President Orville Wright noted that any settlement that we get will be used to benefit the county.
“It is my hopes to take the money and apply it to programs that are used to help combat the issue, as well as some that help those who have been affected,” Wright said.