Coronavirus derails opioid trial in New York

Coronavirus derails opioid trial in New York

The trial against opioid manufacturers and distributors scheduled for March 20 has been delayed due to concerns over the coronavirus, New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

A controlled date conference for the trial has been scheduled for April 14 by Judge Jerry Garguilo, who will preside over the trial.

“New York’s opioid trial will have the eyes of the nation on it, and we very much expect individuals from around the country to be in attendance. Out of an abundance of caution, we fully accept and agree with the court’s decision to delay a trial against the opioid manufacturers and distributors until the ongoing risk of coronavirus subsides,” James said in a statement. “While our first duty must be to ensure the safety of every individual in attendance at trial, as the court stated today, this trial will not be delayed a single minute longer than necessary. Once the threat of COVID-19 dies down, the deadly scheme perpetrated by these companies will be presented in open court and laid bare before the American people. We are committed to holding each of these companies responsible for their role in the opioid crisis, and will continue fighting for justice for victims.”

The lawsuit includes manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc, Allergan Finance, LLC, and their affiliates; as well as distributors McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., Americsource Bergen Drug Corporation, and Rochester Drug Cooperative, Inc.

James filed suit against the opioid manufacturers and distributors in March of last year, falling in line with nearly every other state in the country and hundreds of local municipalities. Previously, the defendants had requested the Appellate Division to grant them an emergency stay in the trial, which was also denied.

The trial has been one to watch as negotiations between opioid manufacturers and distributors continue pending a federal trial in Cleveland where thousands of state, local, and Native American authorities have filed suit against those they feel are responsible for the opioid epidemic in their communities.