Ohio Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Public Nuisance Cases Regarding Opioids

On Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a certified question from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which asked the Ohio Supreme Court to clarify whether Ohio’s product liability law permits a common law claim of absolute public nuisance claim resulting from a sale of a product in commerce such as prescribed opioids. This question could have significant impacts on the manufacturing industry by allowing for public nuisance cases to be brought based on products in the market.

The underlying case involves three large pharmacy chains and whether they created a public nuisance under Ohio law for selling legal products that would go on to play a role in the opioid addiction epidemic. Two Ohio counties had previously won a $650 million judgment against CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart to abate a public nuisance of widespread drug addiction. 3/27/2024