An eagerly awaited criminal trial accusing some of the nation’s largest healthcare companies of recklessly causing the opioid epidemic has been pushed back of the coronavirus outbreak.
The New York trial involving McKesson Corp, Johnson & Johnson, CVS Health and other companies was scheduled to start on March 20. It was slated to take place in state court Suffolk County on Long Island.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said she accepts and agrees with a decision by Vito Caruso, chief administrative judge for Courts Outside New York City to delay the trial.
“We fully accept and agree with the court’s decision to delay a trial against the opioid manufacturers and distributors until the ongoing risk of coronavirus subsides,” Ms. James said in a statement. “While our first duty must be to ensure the safety of every individual in attendance at trial, as the court stated today, this trial will not be delayed a single minute longer than necessary.”
A new trial date was not set, but Justice Jerry Garguilo, who is overseeing the trial, will hold a hearing on April 14 to decide the next steps.
The case is the first major trial to include drug companies, distributors and pharmacy chains and was brought by the state of New York and the counties of Suffolk and Nassau.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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