Jury orientation in Baby Doe opioid trial rescheduled amid proposed settlement discussions

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SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The jury orientation for the Baby Doe opioid trial scheduled for Thursday, July 22 has been pushed back one week.

According to the Tennessee State Courts website, jury orientation is now set to take place on July 29.

A hearing scheduled to take place on July 22 has also been canceled.

The trial was originally set to start on July 26, but it has been pushed now to August 2, according to the website.

The rescheduling comes after News Channel 11 learned that a proposed settlement had been offered to the Northeast Tennessee government entities involved in the lawsuit.

Sources in Greene County, Kingsport and Washington County have confirmed with News Channel 11 that they have approved of the settlement. If all the counties and localities involved in the lawsuit approve the settlement, the trial will not continue.

On Thursday morning, Jonesborough Town Attorney Jim Wheeler said the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously voted to authorize law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings to negotiate a settlement.

Sullivan County’s Executive Committee met on Wednesday to discuss litigation. However, county officials declined to comment on the committee’s decision.

News of the proposed settlement came to light just days ahead of the now-delayed jury selection.

The plaintiffs in the Baby Doe trial are government entities and an infant born drug-dependent, referred to as “Baby Doe.” In 2017, three local prosecutors filed the lawsuit against Endo, Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt.

Endo Pharmaceuticals is the only remaining corporate defendant in the case, following Purdue Pharma’s and Mallinckrodt’s declarations of bankruptcy.

In April 2021, a judge awarded a default judgment in the case against Endo, saying the company was liable  for $2.4 billion damages sought.

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