On June 14, attorneys representing local governments and communities met in Ohio and presented a proposed framework for a comprehensive nationwide settlement of the opioid crisis. Representing hundreds of counties, towns and municipalities, their goal is for impacted local communities to settle with the drug companies as a single “negotiating class” and effect a nationwide settlement with the opioid manufacturers and distributors. Local governments would have the ability to vote on any settlement and would retain the right to opt out of the arrangement as well. Three quarters of the communities would need to approve the settlements for any deal to be finalized and binding. The motion for a negotiating class certification that was filed in federal court seeks to include all 24,500 communities across the country in any ongoing negotiations and enable them to recover on a weighted basis using an interactive map; the motion proposes a hearing date of June 25. Any plan would need to be approved by the judge overseeing the MDL in the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, Judge Dan Aaron Polster. Trial is currently scheduled to begin in the multidistrict litigation in October.
The defendants have not yet agreed to the proposal which would involve a potential settlement of tens of billions of dollars to be paid to the affected communities.
In another development, on June 10, opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics filed for bankruptcy after they reached a $225 million settlement with the US government. Insys manufactured Subsys, a brand of the drug fentanyl.
Read our previous blog post on the Status of Opioid Lawsuits.