Settlement offered to Northeast Tenn. counties ahead of Baby Doe trial jury selection

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SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Days before jury selection was set to begin in the Baby Doe opioid trial, Endo Pharmaceuticals has made a settlement offer to the involved counties in Northeast Tennessee.

A notice from Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable’s office stated that the Sullivan County Executive Committee plans to hold a public meeting on Wednesday, July 21 to “review pending litigation.” That meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Commission Room of the Sullivan County Courthouse.

According to District Attorney General Barry Staubus, Endo Pharmaceuticals has made a settlement offer in the case.

Staubus told News Channel 11 he will be in attendance at the Executive Committee meeting to discuss the settlement.

Washington County officials confirmed they have also scheduled a similar meeting for 6 p.m. on the same day. Greene County is also expected to host a similar meeting.

If all the counties and cities involved in the trial approve of the settlement, then the trial will not continue, Staubus said.

The county leaderships hope to reach a decision on the settlement before Thursday when jury selection in the trial is scheduled to begin.

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.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that while pharmaceutical companies could be held liable for harm to infants through the opioid use of their mothers, district attorneys cannot be the ones to sue those companies.

Following Purdue and Mallinckrodt’s bankruptcy filings, Endo became the only corporate defendant in the case.

The trial is scheduled to begin July 26.

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