The first federal opioid lawsuit case was set to go to trial this week before Judge Dan Polster in Ohio. Fortunately (or, unfortunately) that never happened. At about 1 a.m. the morning of trial, a settlement was reached. Ohio Opioid Lawsuits were filed by thousands of defendants who were battling drug addiction thanks to the manufacturers and distributors of opioids. Many mass tort lawyers represented clients with family members who had died of an overdose.
The defendants in the case were three (3) of the biggest drug distributors and the largest opioid manufacturer. The three distributors were McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health. The manufacturer named in the lawsuit was Teva, a company in Israel.
The settlement calls for both a cash payout and monies to be donated for addiction treatment services. Many involved in the opioid crisis are hoping that this will be a model for other opioid lawsuits around the country. This way, it’s not just a matter of fines or monies being paid. The defendants will have to actually contribute to the opioid recovery mission.
Who Are the Defendants in the Ohio Opioid Lawsuits?
The defendants named in the lawsuit were, again, Teva along with Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. The Ohio opioid lawsuits were filed in two separate counties, near Cleveland.
The defendants combined are responsible for distribution of more than 90% of all drugs on the market. They distribute the medication to hospital, pharmacies and clinics all over the country.
The settlement calls for the U.S. defendants to pay $125 million in cash to the two counties in Ohio. Teva has agreed to pay $20 million over three years. They have also agreed to donate $25 million worth of addiction treatment drugs such as Suboxone.
Why Was the Case Filed in Ohio?
This federal case was a consolidation of thousands of cases filed all over the country. They consolidate these cases so that preliminary issues can all be resolved in one court. Then, once these issues have been resolved, they send the cases back to their original states.
It’s hard to imagine why the courts would choose to have the first bellweather trial in Ohio. There are several reasons for this. First, it’s geographically convenient because it’s close to most of the defendants. In addition, Ohio has been hit hard by the opioid crisis. Judge Polster, the judge at the Northern District of Ohio has a lot of experience handling consolidated cases.
Another Large Opioid Settlement May Be in the Works
Ironically, while this settlement was being approved by Judge Polster, another team of litigators were working on another, much larger opioid settlement. There is a global settlement being discussed for over $48 billion in cash and donations. However, this agreement is only tentative as it must be approved and accepted not only by all 48 states involved but also every city and county involved in the lawsuit.
This lawsuit also involves Teva, but it is surrounds Johnson and Johnson and three other drug distributors. There is no guarantee that this settlement will go through. However, it does model the settlement being hammered out in Ohio this week.
There are Many Companies that Have Not Agreed to a Settlement
While this case seems to have been resolved via settlement, there is still a lot of opioid litigation pending. Most of the larger cases seem to be resolved at this point. In fact, the large settlement will resolve most of the outstanding litigation against the distributors. However, there is still more work to be done.
There is a round of litigation against the pharmacies still pending. Some of the companies named as defendants in these cases include CVS, Walmart and Albertsons. One company – Walgreens – has refused to settle. They were named in both the Ohio litigation that was settled this week and upcoming litigation specifically for the pharmacies. Most experts believe that they are just waiting to settle in the pharmacy litigation instead.
Contact a Mass Tort Lawyer About Ohio Opioid Lawsuits
If you or your loved one have been injured by a dangerous drug or other product, contact an experienced mass tort lawyer today. These cases can become very complicated, very quickly. You only have a limited time to join any class action or mass tort case. You don’t want to miss your window and lose a chance to get the compensation that you deserve.
Contact a mass tort lawyer at Dalimonte Rueb, LLP today. The initial consultation is absolutely free. And remember – you pay nothing until you settle your case.