West Virginia trial puts spotlight on sprawling opioid cases

Local governments seeking to hold drugmakers, pharmaceutical distributors and other companies accountable for the U.S. opioid crisis in the U.S. are finally getting the chance to make their cases in court. The outcomes of trials now underway in West Virginia and California could set the stage for settlements to similar lawsuits brought by thousands of local governments across the country. But the scope of the litigation makes it unlikely there will be a quick and sweeping resolution to all the cases. The lawsuits could evolve more like the ones over cancer links to asbestos, which stretched on for decades. Opioids have been linked to the deaths of nearly 500,000 Americans since the year 2000.