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Source & Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation

Overview

In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation (U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, September 24, 2020) – The appellate court rejected a lower court’s decision to certify a “negotiation class” representing cities, towns, and counties that would negotiate and vote on whether to accept settlements with drug manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies. This proposed class would have bound municipalities that had not yet filed a lawsuit so long as 75% of the class members accepted a settlement. Typically, class certification occurs at the time of a proposed settlement when all parties are aware of the terms. The novel negotiation class certified by the lower court would bind parties to settlement before such details are available. In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit rejected the class certification at the negotiation stage, finding that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow for class formation that would bind all municipalities to a settlement before settlement terms are available. Read the full opinion here.  

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – October 15, 2020.

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