Nick Castele | WOSU Radio

Nick Castele

At MetroHealth Medical Center, Christopher Hall offers patients struggling with addiction something unique: common ground.

Hall is a certified peer supporter with Thrive Peer Support, an Ohio recovery organization. He’s part of a team of people at MetroHealth who have been through the rigors of addiction recovery themselves. They help patients facing addiction find treatment when it is time to leave the hospital.

Cuyahoga and Summit County leaders say they plan to spend the tens of millions already awarded in opioid settlements on drug treatment and prevention programs.

Both counties released plans for the settlement money Thursday, less than two weeks before they both take their claims against the drug industry to trial in federal court in Cleveland. The two counties will be the first among thousands of plaintiffs to make their case before a jury in the massive case.

Drug companies may try to turn the tables on Cuyahoga County in the coming federal opioid trial, presenting evidence on the troubled the county jail and in the department of children and family services in an effort to minimize the role of their drugs in local problems.

With jury selection scheduled to begin next week and opening statements set for Oct. 21, attorneys for both sides are disputing which evidence and witnesses should be presented at trial.

This month, attorneys representing Cuyahoga and Summit counties will try to convince a jury to hold the drug industry responsible for the opioid crisis.

The neighboring Northeast Ohio counties are among the more than 2,000 local governments, Native American tribes and other groups suing opioid manufacturers and distributors in federal court.

A group of drug companies is pushing for U.S. District Judge Dan Polster to recuse himself from the wide-reaching array of local government lawsuits over the opioid crisis, objecting to the judge’s push for settlements. 

Attorneys for Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and other drug makers and distributors filed the motion Saturday morning in federal court in Cleveland. 

Updated: 9:36 a.m., Sept. 13, 2019

Sherwin-Williams Company, the paint giant that has called Cleveland home for more than 150 years, is searching for a new headquarters.

The company announced in a news release Thursday morning that it would consider sites “in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and several other states” for a global headquarters and research and development facility.

A three-year, $13.2 million federal grant will help the Cuyahoga County Board of Health collect better data on opioid overdoses, health officials announced this week.

The county will get $4.4 million annually through 2021 to help the board gather and share numbers on suspected drug overdoses.

Drug maker Mallinckrodt has reached a $30 million settlement with two Northeast Ohio counties in a federal lawsuit over the opioid crisis.

Mallinckrodt has agreed in principle to pay $24 million in cash to Cuyahoga and Summit counties, plus $6 million in product, Cuyahoga County officials said Friday.

Lake Erie advocates are hoping a proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project in Illinois will block invasive carp species from entering the Great Lakes — but they’re watching to see how officials will pay for it.

Representatives of several Great Lakes and environmental groups met Sept. 4 in Perry to talk with Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) about protecting the lake.

Updated: 4:18 p.m., Aug. 28, 2019

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has circulated draft legislation that could allow the state — not counties — to take the lead in lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

The news comes as Purdue Pharma considers a settlement, reportedly valued at $10 billion to $12 billion, with more than 2,000 local governments suing drug companies over the opioid crisis.

Two drug companies have reached agreements in principle with Cuyahoga and Summit counties to settle the local governments’ federal lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

The federal judge overseeing thousands of opioid lawsuits appears poised to approve a pathway for resolving local government claims against the drug industry and dividing settlement dollars nationwide.  

“There has to be some vehicle to resolve these lawsuits,” U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster said during a Tuesday morning hearing in federal court in Cleveland.

Drug companies have not yet settled claims brought against them in federal court, but confidential settlement talks have continued since the start of the multi-district case.

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney told county council members he had little say in major decisions at the county jail as the inmate population rose, deaths mounted and investigators launched probes into conditions there.

Cleveland City Council passed new lead paint requirements for landlords Wednesday, giving Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration 18 months to develop a citywide program to reduce childhood lead poisoning.

The law requires owners of rentals built before 1978 to have their properties inspected for lead hazards every two years. Cleveland’s Building and Housing Department will start enforcing the new rules in March 2021 and require all rentals to be certified as lead safe by 2023. The legislation also doubles the rental registration fee, raising it from $35 to $70.

Weeks from retirement, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney arrived at a council hearing with his personal attorney and refused to answer almost any questions about the county jail system.

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