At­tor­neys seek to disqualify fed­eral judge

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Business - By MARK GILLISPIE

CLEVE­LAND — At­tor­neys for eight drug dis­trib­u­tors, phar­ma­cies and re­tail­ers fac­ing trial next month for their roles in the opioid cri­sis want to disqualify the fed­eral judge over­see­ing their cases, say­ing he has shown bias in his ef­fort to ob­tain a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar global set­tle­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the mo­tion filed late Fri­day in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Cleve­land, where Judge Dan Pol­ster pre­sides over most of the 2,000 law­suits filed by state, lo­cal and tribal gov­ern­ments, the ju­di­cial code re­quires judges to re­cuse them­selves when there is an ap­pear­ance of prej­u­dice or bias.

The at­tor­neys wrote that Pol­ster has made com­ments dur­ing hear­ings, me­dia in­ter­views and public fo­rums about the im­por­tance of get­ting help to gov­ern­ments strug­gling to con­tain a cri­sis that has killed 400,000 peo­ple na­tion­ally since 2000.

“De­fen­dants do not bring this mo­tion lightly,” the mo­tion said. “Taken as a whole and viewed ob­jec­tively, the record clearly demon­strates that re­cusal is nec­es­sary.”

Pol­ster has not re­sponded to the mo­tion filed by at­tor­neys for the drug dis­trib­u­tors Amerisourc­eBer­gen Drug Corp., Car­di­nal Health Inc., McKes­son Corp. and Henry Schein Inc.; drug­store chains CVS, Rite Aid and Wal­greens; and re­tailer Wal­mart.

Next month’s trial on be­half of the Ohio coun­ties of Sum­mit, which in­cludes Akron, and Cuya­hoga, which in­cludes Cleve­land, are viewed by Pol­ster as a bell­wether that could shape how other law­suits are re­solved. Sev­eral drug man­u­fac­tur­ers have set­tled with the coun­ties ahead of trial.

As­so­ci­ated Press

This Jan. 11, 2018 file photo shows Judge Dan Pol­ster in his of­fice, in Cleve­land. At­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing eight drug dis­trib­u­tors, phar­ma­cies and re­tail­ers fac­ing trial for their roles in the na­tional opioid cri­sis are seek­ing to disqualify the fed­eral judge over­see­ing their cases say­ing he’s shown clear bias in his ef­forts to ob­tain a multi-bil­lion dol­lar global set­tle­ment. The mo­tion was filed late Fri­day in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Cleve­land.

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