The Latest: Jury chosen for opioid trial, but talks continue
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on a federal trial over the toll of opioids (all times local):
A jury has been chosen for the first federal trial on the opioid crisis even as the push for a settlement intensifies with drug executives heading to Cleveland for further talks.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations said Thursday that Judge Dan Polster had ordered executives for the companies that are defendants to appear in Cleveland on Friday for continued negotiations.
The person was not authorized to disclose information about ongoing negotiations and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Opening arguments are scheduled for Monday.
Three major drug distributors and two drug manufacturers have the outlines of a settlement to thousands of opioid-related lawsuits that could be worth $50 billion over time.
Most of those companies are defendants in the Cleveland trial on claims from Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties.
Jury selection was completed Thursday.
Jury selection for a federal trial on the toll of opioids has resumed even as major drug distributors and manufacturers press for a settlement of the lawsuit and more than 2,000 others.
For the second day in a row Thursday, the judge overseeing the case in Cleveland denied requests from defense lawyers to delay the trial and forged ahead with jury selection.
The latest motion to push back the trial came because of fears the jury pool could be tainted by reports that five companies had in place a structure for a settlement that could be worth $50 billion over time.
Arguments on the claims brought by Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties are scheduled to start Monday.
Major drug distributors and manufacturers are pressing to settle thousands of claims against them related to the nation’s persistent opioid crisis as their trial date draws closer.
The companies are negotiating with state attorneys general as jury selection is expected to wrap up on Thursday in the first federal trial over an overdose epidemic that has claimed more than 400,000 American lives in the past two decades. Arguments are scheduled to begin Monday against some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry unless they can strike a deal.
A source familiar with the negotiations described the outlines of a tentative nationwide settlement as worth tens of billions of dollars. The talks involve the distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, as well as drug makers Johnson & Johnson and Teva.