The Latest: Lawyers pause plan to divide opioid settlement

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on a plan to divide money among local governments in the case of a settlement of lawsuits over the toll of opioids (all times local):

1 p.m.

Differences between state and local governments on how to handle any future settlement with the drug industry over the toll of opioids won’t play out in court just yet.

Lawyers for county and municipal governments were set to present their plan at a federal court hearing Tuesday for dividing money among nearly 25,000 local governments if a settlement can be reached with companies that make, distribute and sell powerful prescription painkillers.

But after objections from drug distributors and pharmacies and words of caution from state attorneys general, they agreed to take more input and rework their plan over the next few weeks.

Judge Dan Polster, who is overseeing nearly 2,000 cases over opioids, said he’d now have a hearing on the idea on Aug. 6.


9:15 a.m.

Tension is emerging between lawyers representing state and local governments over the path forward in a set of lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the toll of the nation’s opioid crisis.

A federal judge is holding a hearing Tuesday in Cleveland on a plan pitched by lawyers for local governments on distributing money to nearly 25,000 municipal and county governments. The plan would take effect if companies that make and distribute the powerful prescription painkillers agree to one or more legal settlements.

Attorneys general for most states said Monday in a pair of letters to Judge Dan Polster that such an arrangement could hurt their ability to reach a national settlement.

Drug distribution companies and pharmacies are opposing the arrangement.

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