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A federal judge has approved a plaintiffs leadership team in the opioid litigation that’s expected to get bigger—much bigger.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Ohio on Thursday approved a team of 22 lawyers to spearhead more than 180 lawsuits brought over the opioid epidemic, which has led to a public health crisis across the nation. The team reads like a “Who’s Who” in mass torts and includes many of the same lawyers who obtained the $246 billion settlement with Big Tobacco. The proposed slate was submitted in a court filing on Wednesday, complete with an organizational chart that shows various committees and working groups in which several more attorneys would be named. Overseeing those groups would be a plaintiffs steering committee, whose membership has yet to be decided.

“I anticipate there will be dozens of more law firms involved than are identified in the current time,” said Joe Rice, co-lead counsel on the team. “As to who they’ll be, and what their role will be, will be largely dictated on how the court will organize the case.”

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Amanda Bronstad

Amanda Bronstad is the ALM staff reporter covering class actions and mass torts nationwide. She writes the email dispatch Critical Mass. She is based in Los Angeles.

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