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Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss Opioid Lawsuits

On Dec. 19, Judge Dan Polster of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio rejected opioid companies’ motion to dismiss hundreds of state and local lawsuits against them.

Over the past two years, more than 1,150 federal claims against opioid companies have been filed by state and local governments, among other parties. The individual lawsuits involve common claims of wrongdoing by the same companies, and all plaintiffs seek financial restitution from the companies for the costs of combating the opioid crisis in their communities.

In December 2017, hundreds of lawsuits were combined into single multi-district litigation to be heard by Polster. Thereafter, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiffs cannot prove that the companies are at fault for the epidemic of opioid addiction or its widespread impact.

This week, Polster issued an order for the litigation to proceed and for the parties to discuss a potential settlement. The first trial is scheduled to begin in September 2019 unless a settlement is reached before then.

To learn more, see America’s Essential Hospitals’ policy brief on these and other legal challenges to opioid companies at the federal, state, and local levels and the implications for essential hospitals.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at  eomalley@essentialhospitals.org  or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Kelcie Jimenez is a state policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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