Panel refuses to separate baby cases from other opioid suits

NEW YORK (AP) — A panel of judges says lawsuits filed on behalf of babies born in withdrawal from opioids should be considered by the same judge who is presiding over hundreds of claims from local governments against the drug industry.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled on the matter Thursday, one week after hearing arguments on it.

Lawyers for the babies said they have different legal concerns and need different information than the governments who have filed most of the 1,400 suits blaming companies that make, distribute and sell prescription painkillers for the opioid crisis.

In a written opinion, Judge Sarah Vance said that creating a second group of lawsuits under the jurisdiction of a second judge would slow down the cases.

The judge overseeing the litigation is pushing for a settlement.

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