Summit County

Summit County Judge Alison McCarty put herself under self-quaratine after returning from Italy.
Alison McCarty / Facebook

A Summit County Common Pleas judge has decided to self-quarantine after recently returning from Italy, where there are several hundred reported cases of the coronavirus and multiple deaths.

Summit County Council has approved spending $104 million in opioid settlement funds, but a committee that will determine how to use the money won't be fully formed until the spring. So it sits, unspent.

Greta Johnson, assistant chief of staff to County Executive Ilene Shapiro, said federal Judge Dan Polster has made it clear this should be spent more responsibly than tobacco settlement money from the 1990s.

The number of human trafficking cases in Summit County is down slightly, but the crime may be evolving.

In this May 30, 2019, file photo, a CVS store with the new HealthHUB is shown in Spring, Texas.
David J. Phillips / AP

A series of pharmacy chains argued in federal court that doctors and other health care practitioners who write prescriptions bear ultimate responsibility for improper distribution of opioids to patients, rather than the pharmacists who are obliged to fill those prescriptions.

Northeast Ohio communities hope no one goes uncounted in the 2020 Census.

Complete count committees, local groups made up of area government and community leaders, will spend the next few months promoting the decennial count.

Legal battles over the opioid crisis will carry on into 2020, as several more cases begin to move toward trial in federal courts around the country.

After overseeing thousands of opioid lawsuits from his Cleveland courtroom for the past two years, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster has begun sending cases to other federal judges. Polster has recommended that suits brought by the Cherokee Nation, city of Chicago and San Francisco be moved to federal courts in Oklahoma, Illinois and California.

A Civil Rights group is pleased with a new panhandling law passed this week by Summit County Council. The American Civil Liberties Union had been fighting the county’s previous law that banned panhandling in townships.

ACLU attorney Joseph Mead says the law violated First Amendment free speech rights.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster has added a new opioid trial to the calendar, this one litigating Cuyahoga and Summit counties’ claims against pharmacy chains.

Polster, who is overseeing the thousands of opioid-related lawsuits, set a trial date of Oct. 13, 2020 in an order issued Tuesday.

The two counties are amending their lawsuits to accuse pharmacies of failing to look out for suspicious prescriptions for opioid painkillers, with the judge’s approval.

The nationwide opioid lawsuits are far from over.

After last month’s settlement with drug makers and distributors, lawyers for Cuyahoga and Summit counties are focusing on the next set of defendants: pharmacies.

At the start of this month, attorneys for the two counties asked the court permission to add new claims against pharmacies to their lawsuits. The claims accuse pharmacy chains of failing to look out for suspicious opioid prescriptions.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 24

Make no mistake: The legal fight over liability for the U.S. opioid crisis is only heating up.

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.

Dave Yost speaks at the Ohio Republican Party event, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Yost was elected as the next Ohio attorney general.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

A federal appeals court on Thursday denied two efforts that could have kept the first federal trial on the opioids crisis from starting as scheduled this month in Cleveland.

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.

Johnson & Johnson and two Ohio counties have reached a tentative $20.4 million settlement that removes the corporation from the first federal lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, scheduled to begin later this month.

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.

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