In an effort to reach a potential $22 billion cash global settlement of opioid lawsuits, lawyers are clashing over a critical obstacle that hit the courts this week: who should get attorney fees, and how much?

The fight over fees reached a pinnacle this week after numerous states, cities and counties filed court papers opposing a proposal that any opioid settlement or judgment would require corporate defendants to holdback 7% for “common benefit fees” to compensate the lawyers in charge of the multidistrict litigation. Even the opioid defendants themselves—the primary distributors and manufacturers of the prescription painkillers named in the lawsuits—said the proposed holdback by the plaintiffs’ executive committee would “seriously jeopardize the global settlement.”

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