AG Yost moves to block national opioid settlement proposal

The Columbus Dispatch | Marty Schladen

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is raising objections to a proposal that 51 cities and counties take the lead in negotiating a settlement to a massive opioid lawsuit on file in federal court in Cleveland. He says doing so would step on the toes of states and small, opioid-ravaged communities.

Yost sent a letter recently to U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster laying out several reasons why the local governments — which include Franklin, Summit and Cuyahoga counties and the city of Lakewood — shouldn’t be the ones at the table negotiating a settlement that’s expected to reach into the tens of billions of dollars.

“My primary concern is both structural and constitutional,” Yost said in the letter. “This unprecedented endeavor by private class action counsel, seeking to represent every local political subdivision of every state of the union, ignores our structure of government and usurps the sovereignty of the states.”

The lawyers proposing the settlement, who represent more than 1,800 local governments, couldn’t be reached.

So far, no states have joined the multi-district litigation in Cleveland. Ohio has two opioid cases pending in state court: one against manufacturers in Ross County and another against distributors in Madison County.

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