As reported by Law360 (subscription), U.S. District Judge Dan Polster has approved the innovative and unprecedented approach of creating a negotiation class of government authorities empowered to negotiate a global settlement with drug manufacturers accused of fueling the destructive opioid addiction crisis that has swept the nation. The “negotiation class” concept was originally proposed in June by attorneys for local government plaintiffs in the federal opioids litigation on behalf of around 40 local government entities.
Judge Polster is responsible for overseeing the aggregation of nearly 2,000 lawsuits in the massive multidistrict opioid litigation. Plaintiffs’ innovative proposal to establish a “negotiation class” composed of all the individual cities and counties in the U.S. to seek a unified settlement deal with opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies will function as a means to organize more than 30,000 local governments into one group, paving the way for global settlements with the opioid manufacturers and distributors.
In his ruling Judge Polster made a point to respond to several state attorneys general who opposed the approach, ultimately stating he was unconvinced by their objections.
“The court has determined that the procedure is a legitimate one, that certification is warranted based on the facts of the case, and that the whole process is more likely to promote global settlement than it is, as the attorneys general argue, to impede it,” wrote Judge Polster.
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.