CLEVELAND FEDERAL COURT, OH (WOIO) - A plaintiff's executive committee comprising of over 600 lawsuits from communities throughout Ohio has not yet heard from defendants regarding a monetary figure for settlement in the lawsuit regarding the heroin epidemic and the role of prescription pills.
The defendants have been split into three parties; manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies that have given out pain medication containing opiates. Parties are currently discussing injunction review measures to reduce the amount of pills prescribed or the dosage.
Despite no exchange of monetary proposals, negotiators for the plaintiffs described the conversations as fruitful, open and cooperative.
The judges presiding over the case, Judge Dan Polster and Judge David Ruiz, have allowed groups fighting the heroin epidemic to attend and listen in to open settlement negotiations where they receive updates on the proceedings. The judges were set to meet privately with both sides the rest of Thursday.
Groups such as Facing Addiction and F.I. Community Housing believe the big tobacco settlements in the 1990s should be a precedent for these lawsuits, saying they want billions, not millions from the defendants to help with education and recovery in Ohio. The tobacco lawsuits were settled for $206 billion to be distributed between 46 states.
Those rallying outside the federal courthouse before the hearing believe they can lower heroin usage rates the same way smokers have been reduced after the tobacco settlement. And despite the prospect of a resolution taking several years, they will continue to hold the rallies and tell their stories of lost loved ones to apply public pressure.
The sides meet to negotiate every two weeks and court hearings have been scheduled through August.