CLEVELAND (AP) – The first federal opioid trial is set to begin Monday in Ohio.
Opening statements are scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland in a trial scheduled to last seven weeks. A last-minute settlement is still possible.
The case deals with the claims of two Ohio counties against just a half dozen companies that make and distribute drugs, but the implications could be far bigger.
The case on lawsuits filed by Cuyahoga and Summit counties is a bellwether intended to show how legal issues might unfold in more than 2,000 other cases in federal courts.
After earlier settlements took major manufacturers such as OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma out of the trial, the case is expected to center on how drugs were distributed. A key question is whether those companies fulfilled an obligation to withhold suspicious shipments.
In the last 20 years, there have been more than 400,000 opioid-related deaths in Ohio.