Tribal MDL Paused Amid Settlement Talks

James Parker
September 17, 2021

The Oklahoma federal judge has paused a bellwether multidistrict litigation (MDL) among talks of a settlement between the Cherokee Nation and opioid manufacturers AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven P. Shreder has approved a temporary freeze on the process of the MDL trial after receiving a joint motion filed on September 8. The motion stated that since late August, the parties have been discussing settlement terms and for the next two weeks, motion practice and discovery requests should be stayed.

This motion came one day before the hearing for McKesson’s request to compel the disclosure of state opioid dispensing data. According to McKesson’s attorneys, this data would demonstrate that manufacturers outside those named in the lawsuit are responsible for the Cherokee Nation’s opioid abuse. 

McKesson, Cardinal, and AmerisourceBergen have struck a $21 billion deal with states and local governments to settle all claims brought against them and prevent future claims. This multibillion-dollar settlement has excluded tribal authorities and interests.

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