Appeals Court Rejects Ohio AG's Attempt To Delay Opioid Trial

Oct 10, 2019

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has rejected Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s request to delay the October 21 start for the huge opioid trial in federal court in Cleveland.

Three judges from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals declined the request from Yost and a dozen other attorneys general and the US Chamber of Commerce.

They had wanted to delay the consolidated bellwether trial involving opioid manufacturers and distributors being sued by 2,600 local governments.

Yost had argued that states have sole authority to pursue these claims for all citizens.  But the judges said there’s been extensive work in preparing for the trial, and already been some settlements with Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma.

And they note that Yost’s request was filed in late August, though the state didn’t object two years ago when Cuyahoga and Summit Counties’ cases were included in the overall case.

Yost says in a statement: "The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals did not say the state’s argument was incorrect or not valid, but that the issue should be addressed with the trial court. At this time, we are reviewing our options."

Yost's attempt to delay the trial has angered local governments, and even got Gov. Mike DeWine concerned.

He has said he wants settlement money to go back to local governments who have been fighting the opioid crisis. But he backed a bill that would have given the state authority in lawsuits involving drug makers and brought 10 percent of settlement funds to his office and attorneys who worked with him on the case.  DeWine has said it would be a "serious mistake" for money to go to the state instead of local governments.