Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Ohio Federal Judge Indicating Support for “Negotiation Class” in Opioid MDL

Ohio Federal Judge Indicating Support for “Negotiation Class” in Opioid MDL

As reported by Law360, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster appears to be signaling support for the inventive new settlement approach proposed earlier this summer by attorneys for local government plaintiffs in the federal opioids litigation on behalf of about 40 local government entities. According to the publication, in the nearly two-hour hearing held on August 6th, Judge Polster expressed virtually zero criticism of the negotiation class concept and dismissed several objections voiced by the defendants and state attorneys general. Though a ruling was not issued, the judge left onlookers with a solid impression that he was likely to endorse the novel approach.

Judge Polster oversees the aggregation of nearly 2,000 lawsuits in the multidistrict opioid litigation. Plaintiffs’ innovative proposal would establish a “negotiation class” composed of all the individual cities and counties in the U.S. that seek a unified settlement deal with opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies alleged to have been responsible for fueling the nation’s unprecedented destructive opioid epidemic. The proposed negotiation class would organize more than 30,000 local governments into one group, paving the way for global settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“There has to be some vehicle to resolve these lawsuits. I think this vehicle has some merit,” said Judge Polster at the hearing. “Is it perfect? No. … But that isn’t a reason to say no, because you’ve never had a set of lawsuits like this, so the vehicle isn’t going to be one that’s been tried and tested.”

Learn more about the nationwide opioid litigation.

Lieff Cabraser’s Work on Opioid Injury Cases

 Lieff Cabraser represents numerous cities, counties, and Native American tribes and health organizations in lawsuits seeking justice from the manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid drugs for the unprecedented destructive opioid epidemic raging across the U.S. We also serve on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and the Tribal Committee in the coordinated federal multidistrict opiate litigation.

Recognized as “one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs’ firms” by The American Lawyer and as a “Plaintiffs’ Powerhouse” by Law360, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a 70-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. Lieff Cabraser has filed similar cases nationwide on behalf of other counties and cities in opioids-related litigation. Our firm has successfully represented tens of thousands of injured individuals in complex and mass tort litigation, and thousands of patients across America in individual lawsuits over the injuries they suffered from defective prescription drugs. Five times in the last seven years, U.S. News and Best Lawyers have named Lieff Cabraser as their “Law Firm of the Year” for representing plaintiffs in class actions and mass torts.