CLEVELAND -- Jury selection is set to begin in the first federal trial over the nation's opioid epidemic.
The trial focuses on lawsuits filed by two Ohio counties claiming drug companies that made, distributed and sold prescription painkillers engaged in a deadly conspiracy that has inflicted massive damage on their communities.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Wednesday and is expected to last a few days. Attorneys for Summit and Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) counties and six drug-related companies will select a 12-person jury. Prospective jurors were asked to answer a 19-page questionnaire about the case.
The trial is scheduled to begin Monday in Cleveland. It's considered a bellwether because it could help shape how future trials are conducted or possibly help spur the global settlement sought by U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster.
Polster is overseeing more than 2,000 lawsuits filed by local governments and other entities against companies in the opioid industry.