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Opioid Judge Calls Proposed Settlement Group a 'Novel Approach'

Spilled container of pills

A judge backed a push by U.S. cities and counties suing opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma LP and Johnson & Johnson to negotiate a settlement as a group but put off until August a final decision on the request.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, overseeing more than 1,900 lawsuits by U.S. municipalities, said Tuesday that the idea of creating a negotiating class of local governments to spur settlement talks was an innovative one. Normally, such classes are formed only after a tentative deal has been struck.

Reaching an accord in a case where cities and counties seek hundreds of billions of dollars from makers and distributors of opioid painkillers “may need a novel approach,” the judge said at a hearing in Cleveland. He delayed his final ruling until Aug. 6 so he could hear comments about how the class should be structured.

But some state attorneys general, along with opioid distributors such as McKesson Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc., asked Polster to hold off on approving the class. They say that it’s too early in the case to create such a group and that it could force some municipalities to join the litigation when they’re not yet ready.

Read the full article here.

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