Opioid lawsuits

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster has added a new opioid trial to the calendar, this one litigating Cuyahoga and Summit counties’ claims against pharmacy chains.

Polster, who is overseeing the thousands of opioid-related lawsuits, set a trial date of Oct. 13, 2020 in an order issued Tuesday.

The two counties are amending their lawsuits to accuse pharmacies of failing to look out for suspicious prescriptions for opioid painkillers, with the judge’s approval.

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says he’s trying to unify elected officials and lawyers from cities and counties involved in opioid-related lawsuits. He wants to come up with a broad agreement on how the billions that will likely come their way will be spent.

DeWine says an all-day gathering Wednesday of about 100 city and county elected officials and their lawyers at the Governor’s Residence, along with Attorney General Dave Yost, is the first of its kind among any state seeking damages from opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Eric Stimac’s path to addiction began with a work injury.

Several years ago, he said, he was working a side job on a day off.

“It was some stage flooring,” he said. “We were unloading off the back of a box truck, and it fell off of the lift gate and then landed on my foot and crushed my foot.”

Stimac couldn’t walk for months. He was prescribed Oxycontin, then Percocet and eventually became addicted to the pills.

A group of drug companies is pushing for U.S. District Judge Dan Polster to recuse himself from the wide-reaching array of local government lawsuits over the opioid crisis, objecting to the judge’s push for settlements. 

Attorneys for Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and other drug makers and distributors filed the motion Saturday morning in federal court in Cleveland. 

Updated: 4:18 p.m., Aug. 28, 2019

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has circulated draft legislation that could allow the state — not counties — to take the lead in lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

The news comes as Purdue Pharma considers a settlement, reportedly valued at $10 billion to $12 billion, with more than 2,000 local governments suing drug companies over the opioid crisis.

West Virginia University President Gordon Gee and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich are creating a nonprofit that will fight to steer cash from any national opioid settlement to hospitals, rather than to local and state governments already sparring for control of the dollars.

The plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors are proposing creating a "negotiating class" to settle claims with the companies. 

Lawyers for the drug companies and the cities, counties and towns suing them descended on District Court Judge Dan Polster's Clevleand federal district courtroom Tuesday for a hearing.

Polster started by saying the opioid litigation in front of him has been “called by some the most complex litigation ever tried.”

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Attorneys handling hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the opioid crisis say they’re making progress in discussions between local governments and drug companies.

 

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster held a brief public hearing today to discuss the suits brought by cities, counties, Native American tribes and others against drug makers and distributors.

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CARDINAL HEALTH

Ohio’s largest company – which has been named in a number of lawsuits and exposés over the opioid drug crisis – is making changes at the top. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on Cardinal Health.