Federal judge changes trial sequence for opioid lawsuits

Posted at 11:27 AM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 11:28:15-05

CLEVELAND (AP) — The federal judge overseeing hundreds of lawsuits filed against manufacturers and distributors of opioid drugs is changing the lineup for the first "bellwether" trial in Cleveland.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster ruled Monday that claims made by the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland, and Summit County, which includes Akron, will be heard first this October.

A trial on claims made by West Virginia's Huntington and Cabell counties will be next, followed by Cleveland and Akron's claims.

Polster initially planned to hold one trial this fall for the four Ohio governments.

Hundreds of local governments and other entities such as hospitals have accused pharmaceutical companies of downplaying the addictive nature of opioids and prescription painkillers largely blamed for one of the deadliest drug crises in U.S. history.