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Plaintiffs seek to consolidate lawsuits against drugmakers

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Plaintiffs suing drugmakers and distributors in dozens of cases tied to the opioid crisis are seeking to have the lawsuits consolidated and overseen by one federal judge in Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that plaintiffs want to consolidate 66 lawsuits from Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia under a program known as "multidistrict litigation," or MDL. The plaintiffs are asking that the cases be heard by Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. in Columbus.

The idea is to have cases involving similar questions of fact and law consolidated, with the outcomes of test cases helping inform whether remaining plaintiffs proceed to trial, settle or withdraw their claims. Resolving the cases could take years.

A panel of judges will consider the MDL request Nov. 30.

Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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