Judge schedules trial in massive opioid lawsuit

Judge schedules trial in massive opioid lawsuit
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A federal judge in Ohio has set a trial date for part of a massive combined lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors over the opioid epidemic.

Judge Dan Polster on Wednesday set a March 2019 trial date for cases from three of the cities and counties that are suing drug companies. Those cases would be the first of hundreds brought under Polster’s review to see a trial and could serve as “bellwethers” that help both sides test the waters.

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The cases are being closely watched to see if they produce a settlement that forces changes meant to fight the opioid epidemic. Polster said in January that he wanted to take actions that would stem the tide of the crisis.

Polster said Wednesday that while he wants a settlement, the companies have “asserted forcefully that they cannot reach final settlement without litigating certain matters,” according to Reuters.

Scheduling a trial will help “address this impediment,” he said.

Polster said in January that “my objective is to do something meaningful to abate this crisis,” according to USA Today.

“I’m confident we can do something to dramatically reduce the number of opioids that are being disseminated, manufactured and distributed,” he said. “Just dramatically reduce the quantity and make sure that the pills that are manufactured and distributed go to the right people and no one else.”