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Trends in Opioid Litigation

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 79 minutes
Recorded Date: July 22, 2020
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  • Background and context
  • Identify the parties involved
  • An overview of the different types of cases, actions, and legal theories
  • Discussion on some of the myriad legal complexities and novel issues arising
  • Possible endings and outcomes
Runtime: 1 hour, 19 minutes
Recorded: July 22, 2020


There are almost daily reports about new lawsuits, settlements, theories of liability, and public health initiatives related to the opioid crisis. The cases have spawned new theories of liability, complex questions of damages, and raise larger social questions about the various players in our health care system.

For this seminar, lawyers who have been at the forefront of prosecuting or studying opioid litigation will provide an overview of the legal issues and theories, and try to provide insight into how these case may shape legal landscape going forward.

This program was recorded on July 22nd, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Jonathan D. Blanton

Deputy Attorney General for Major Litigation
Ohio Attorney General's Office

As Deputy Attorney General for Major Litigation, Jonathan Blanton works directly with the Ohio Solicitor General as well as the Antitrust, Constitutional Offices, Consumer Protection, and Charitable Law sections of the Attorney General’s Office.

Blanton manages some of the office’s highest-profile civil matters, including ongoing litigation against a number of opioid manufacturers and pharmaceutical distributors. He has served as a subject-matter expert and trainer for the National Association of Attorneys General on various topics, including tactics for maximizing the effectiveness of prescription drug monitoring programs, regulating medical professionals, and developing and litigating claims against pharmaceutical supply-chain participants.

Before joining Attorney General Yost’s administration, Blanton served as chief of the office’s Consumer Protection Section for more than four years. A litigator at heart, he has extensive experience in investigating and prosecuting felony criminal cases, including 10 years as the Jackson County prosecutor.

Blanton is a graduate of Ohio University and the University of Kentucky College of Law.

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Alexnadra D. Lahav

Ellen Ash Peters Professor of Law
University of Connecticut School of Law

Alexandra D. Lahav is a nationally recognized expert on the civil justice system and tort law. She takes an institutional approach to the study of these subjects, using methods and perspectives drawn from legal analysis, history, political theory, and economics. She teaches civil procedure, torts, complex litigation, professional responsibility, and related subjects.

Her book, In Praise of Litigation (Oxford 2017), won the Pound Civil Justice Scholarship Award and received an Honorable Mention in the ABA Silver Gavel Award. It makes the case that litigation is a social good that promotes democratic values. In other recent work on the civil justice system she has studied the changing win rate patterns in the federal courts, the effects of incentives on judicial decision-making, and the optimal design of procedural systems. She has also written on the role of litigation tactics in changing the law in the antebellum period of American history. Lahav is also co-author of the fifth edition of the popular civil procedure casebook Civil Procedure: Doctrine, Practice, and Context.

In her work on torts, Lahav has explored the use of statistical sampling to resolve mass tort cases, the role of the jury, and how insights from epidemiology can inform the resolution of mass and toxic torts. Her articles in this area include Mass Tort Class Actions – Past, Present, and Future, 92 NYU L. Rev. 998 (2017) and The Case for "Trial by Formula," 90 Texas L. Rev. 571 (2012). She is currently working on a project on how epidemiology can inform the future direction of tort doctrine.

Lahav received her BA in history from Brown University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, clerked for Justice Alan Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and practiced with a boutique civil rights firm in New York City. She was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School before joining the UConn faculty in 2004 and has also taught as a visiting professor at Columbia, Harvard and Yale Law Schools. She was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2019-2020.

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Alethea Huyser

Senior Associate
Frederickson & Byron, P.A.

Leah is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer, who assists clients facing various legal challenges, including government enforcement actions, constitutional litigation, fraud and other business tort claims, and regulatory challenges. She works closely with clients to develop and execute a legal strategy that serves their business objectives, especially in complex, high-stakes and contentious cases.

Prior to joining Fredrikson & Byron, Leah served as the sole Assistant Solicitor General for the State of Minnesota. In that role, she worked on a wide variety of regulatory, administrative and civil issues, specializing in complex constitutional and tort litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. Leah worked on significant matters on behalf of the Governor’s Office, Secretary of State, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Department of Human Services, Department of Public Safety, Department of Corrections, Pollution Control Agency, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Revenue, among others. Because of that experience, Leah is uniquely able to help clients dealing with a variety of government enforcement issues and to identify and challenge unconstitutional governmental actions or laws.

Leah is a talented appellate attorney, experienced on appeals involving complex and sensitive legal issues. She also has significant experience drafting amicus briefs and advising other attorneys in the preparation of their appeals, including on the preservations of appellate issues, reviewing briefs and preparing for oral argument.

Leah has successfully served as first chair on significant cases before the Minnesota Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and in both Minnesota and United States District Court.

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