Judge to briefly open court during opioid lawsuits talks

CLEVELAND (AP) - A federal judge hoping to settle hundreds of lawsuits filed by government entities over the opioid crisis is planning a brief open-court session as settlement talks continue.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland is presiding over lawsuits filed by more than 600 local and county governments, including Fort Wayne and Allen County, as well as Indian tribes regarding the crisis that killed 42,000 Americans in 2016.

Polster plans to open court for an hour on Thursday before closing it again during negotiations.

His goal remains reaching a deal quickly, but he also has said parties should exchange evidence and hold bellwether trials on important issues.

Earlier this week, Polster ordered the government to share data on opioid distribution and suspicious orders from every state, not just a selected list of states hit hard by the crisis.

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