Gavel in front of a statue of blind Justice

Opioid Trial Delayed Again Due to COVID-19 Concerns

This article was originally published by WSAZ

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A lawsuit accusing pill distributers of being responsible for the opioid epidemic is being delayed again.

The trial was scheduled for the end of August before being pushed back to start in October. Now it will not get underway until next year.

A federal judge delayed the trial from Oct. 19 to Jan. 4. Earlier this month, defense attorneys requested the delay, saying they were afraid the trial could create a COVID-19 super-spreader event.

They said it would be irresponsible to hold a long trial with hundreds of witnesses from all over the country with the pandemic going on.

Paul Farrell Jr. is one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. He says he feels like they could have held the trial this month safely.

“We feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football,” Farrell said. “Obviously we respect the COVID epidemic, but we should fear the opioid epidemic. There are still people suffering and dying every day in West Virginia.”

He says the past six weeks, their trial team has quarantined in a bubble in South Carolina.

“We had 30 lawyers, paralegals, secretaries, and we removed them all from their homes and built basically our own NBA bubble in Charleston, South Carolina, to try to keep everybody safe,” Farrell said.

He says having another delay now is disappointing.

“The frustrating thing is we’ve conducted over 150 depositions throughout the COVID summer without a single exposure,” he said. “We’ve been waiting three and a half years for our day in court. We’ll get there. If the Lord wants us to be patient, we’ll be patient a little longer, but eventually, there will be a reckoning.”