Litigation Update: Opioid MDL Developments

Posted on by Edward Lott

In response to motions opposing additional bellwether trials filed on March 26 and March 29 by the nations’ biggest pharmacy chains, Judge Aaron Dan Polster issued an order rejecting the objections and reaffirming his plan to schedule an additional five trials in the coming months.

In their filings in March, pharmacy chains CVS Health Corp., Walgreen Co., Walmart Inc. and Rite Aid Corp. argued that Judge Polster’s plan to add several trials to what they contend is a full trial schedule treats them unfairly and punishes them for not settling. They maintain that, although the Court states that the additional trials will “provide the parties with the necessary data to advance a global settlement”, there will be more than enough information available from the currently scheduled trials. The pharmacies argue that the additional trials unfairly single them out and “create the appearance that the Court is either penalizing Pharmacy Defendants for exercising their right to maintain separation between the Court’s adjudication and mediation functions, unduly pressuring them to settle, or both.”

Judge Polster, in his four-page Order filed on April 5, denies the argument that the new schedule is designed to target the defendants for failing to settle, observing that “the pharmacy defendants imply that the proposed bellwether trials appear to be intended to penalize them for not settling.

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