Major Plaintiffs' Firms Would Be Shut Out Of Negotiation Class Idea

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Major plaintiffs’ firms representing both states and cities would be shut out of the negotiation class idea proposed in the opioid-related multidistrict litigation in Ohio, the judge announced this week.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster said the firms that represent both cities and states “have a conflict of interest that bars them” from participating in the negotiation class. This novel idea was proposed by some plaintiffs’ lawyers in which select plaintiffs would negotiate a settlement on behalf of the entire class. Judge Polster has yet to approve the idea amid criticism from state attorneys general, one of whom called it a “power grab.”

Judge Polster’s order would bar major plaintiff firms like Motley Rice and Lieff Cabraser from the class and would elevate attorneys Chris Seeger and Jayne Conroy. Seeger has attracted criticism for his handling of several multidistrict litigation proceedings, including the NFL concussion settlement. In that case, he was accused of steering players to a lawsuit lending firm with which he was once associated, while also calling for investigations of rival lending firms involved in the case.

August 21, 2019