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Opioid sellers say judge must refuse because he pressed settlement; 1 indicted bankruptcy documents

Trials & Litigation

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Some opioid defendants claim that the federal judge overseeing litigation in several districts should decline in part because his zeal for settlements has created the appearance of bias.

Several opioid sellers and distributors filed a motion early Saturday to seek the withdrawal of U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland, reports Washington Post (here and here), and Law360. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit accuse opioid manufacturers of neglecting addiction risks and opioid distributors for failing to monitor suspicious orders.

A brief support supporting the proposal cites the pressure for a settlement, along with two other alleged grounds for revocation. The first consists of Polster's statements which show that he has a personal goal of reducing the opioid crisis. The second consists of allegedly inappropriate comments on the trial of the media and in seminars and panel discussions.

The short pointer to a hearing in January 201[ads1]8 in which Polster said, "My goal is to do something meaningful to reduce this crisis and to do it in 2018." He also said during the hearing that he wanted to do something meaningful for to "dramatically reduce" the number of prescribed opioids.

The card also points to statements made by Polster to the news media. In a statement, Polster indicated that he believes most people in Ohio have a family member, friend or relative of a friend who has been affected by the opioid crisis. Polster also said in a panel discussion that any settlement would have an economic component, as well as a behavioral change of the defendants, the card states.

Polster also made it clear that rather than the jury, the court will decide how much money the defendants should pay for medical treatment and other addiction-related services, the card states.

The thesis also cites Polster's certification of an unusual class of negotiations representing the cities, towns and counties of nations to try to achieve a global settlement in opioid litigation.

The withdrawal request was filed by retailers that included Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, and by drug providers AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Cardinal Health.

Two law professors who spoke to the Washington Post said they did not believe the recall bid would succeed. One of them, Carl Tobias, a law professor at Richmond University, said that judges overseeing litigation in multiple districts are meant to encourage settlement.

One of the defendants who did not participate in the withdrawal, Purdue Pharma, a manufacturer of OxyContin, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday night, reports the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press and Law360. The bankruptcy is part of a tentative settlement in more than 2,600 lawsuits from local governments and 24 states.

In bankruptcy filings on Monday, Purdue Pharma said it will seek to apply an automatic stay of civil litigation to non-judicial authorities and would seek to also protect against litigation owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, under Law360.

The Purdue Pharma settlement requires Purdue Pharma to be restructured as a nonprofit trust and for the Sackler family to pay $ 3 billion to the plaintiffs.

According to the Washington Post, the bankruptcy "will increase efforts for legal sparring over how much of the personal wealth of the billionaire Sackler family" will have to compensate the plaintiffs. States that rejected the settlement claim that the Sackler family unlawfully withdrew money from the company to protect it from expected judgments.

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