By MARK GILLISPIE
CLEVELAND (AP) - Ohio's attorney general says he's encouraged by the start of talks to pursue a settlement with pharmaceutical companies and distributors facing more than 250 federal lawsuits over the nation's opioid epidemic.
Attorneys general from six states, representatives from other states and dozens of attorneys from both sides gathered Wednesday in U.S. District Judge Dan Polster's courtroom in Cleveland to make presentations and answer the judge's questions.
Polster has been assigned to broker a national settlement. He closed his courtroom to the public and media Wednesday.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, asked by Polster to speak on behalf of states that have sued the industry in state court, says Polster is "dead serious" about a reaching a resolution.
Around 42,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016.