According to an order issued on December 31 by federal Judge Dan Polster, lawsuits filed by Cabell County Commission and City of Huntington are the next to go for trial among hundreds of other opioid lawsuits claiming extreme side-effects of the prescription pill overdose.
Huntington attorney Paul T. Farrell Jr. indicated the parties representing both the governments are expected to meet this week to decide on the trial date, and evidence exchange for both cases would begin on January 25, 2019. These are the second set of opioid lawsuits to head for trial after Judge Polster selected lawsuits filed by Cleveland and the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit for a September 2019 trial. Cabell County and Huntington were the first local governments to sue opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies in 2017 alleging breach of duty to detect, monitor, and report an alarming rise in the prescription drug sale. The lawsuits alleged more than 86 million opioid medication was sold in Cabell County between 2006 and 2014 while the county's total population was about 96,000. Cabell County initially filed a lawsuit against the "Big Three" and H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co., CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Kroger and Walgreens in 2017. However, the county also filed an amended complaint in April 2018 targeting seven manufacturers and companies including Purdue Pharma, Actavis, Cephalon, Janssen, Endo, Insys Therapeutics and Mallinckrodt over illegal marketing of the opioids. Huntington filed a lawsuit against the "Big Three" drug distributors - AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson - and former Dr. Gregory Donald Chaney.
More than 1,600 opioid lawsuits have been filed with similar allegations across the U.S. which are consolidated into a multidistrict litigation MDL No. 2804 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) overlooked by Judge Polster in the Northern District of Ohio.