Judge in Ohio could decide national opioid cases

Posted at 11:40 AM, Oct 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-07 11:40:20-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Plaintiffs suing drugmakers and distributors in dozens of cases tied to the opioid crisis are seeking to have the lawsuits consolidated and overseen by one federal judge in Ohio.

Plaintiffs want to consolidate 66 lawsuits from Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia under a program known as “multidistrict litigation,” the Columbus Dispatch reports. The plaintiffs are asking that the cases be heard by Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. in Columbus.

The city of Cincinnati is among the plaintiffs, filing its lawsuit in August.


"The sheer volume of prescription opioids distributed to pharmacies in Cincinnati is excessive for the medical need of the community and facially suspicious,” according to the city's lawsuit. "Some red flags are so obvious that no one who engages in the legitimate distribution of controlled substances can reasonably claim ignorance of them."

The idea of multidistrict litigation is to have cases involving similar questions of fact and law consolidated, with the outcomes of test cases helping inform whether remaining plaintiffs proceed to trial, settle or withdraw their claims. Resolving the cases could take years.

A panel of judges will consider the request Nov. 30.