Ever since Delaware County became the first county in Pennsylvania to sue opioid manufacturers 18 months ago, it has become the statewide center for litigation against those manufacturers and the distributors, writes Catherine Dunn for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to the Inquirer, “Delco’s attorneys say coordinating the cases in one place – and putting them in charge – is intended to be cost effective and efficient, and to avoid conflicting results in different courts. At the federal level, hundreds of cases are grouped together in Cleveland.”
More than 40 suits across the state are currently in the county courthouse in Media, where there was no digital way for litigants to file documents until mid-2018.
Having to file motions and briefs in person and on paper slowed the process. Currently, many suits are on their third Delaware County judge, with some counties still vying for a place on the leadership team. To top it all, the drug companies have yet to submit any internal documents.
Meanwhile, Delaware County’s original case is no longer being handled in Media. It was moved to federal court in Philadelphia at the request of one of the corporate defendants. Now, the county has hired lawyers to bring it back into local court.
“We’re falling way behind,” said Donald Haviland, whose firm represents Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin.
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