A lawsuit by the Northern Arapaho Tribe against six pharmaceutical companies and three drug distributors has been transferred to a federal court in Northern Ohio.

Earlier this month, the Tribe sued the manufacturers and distributors of opioids claiming their business practices have caused widespread addictions among tribal members.

About 500 other tribes, state and local governments have filed similar lawsuits, some with similar language.

Because the facts of these cases are similar, federal law allows such lawsuits to be consolidated as a multidistrict litigation in one federal district court. U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster for the federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, will oversee these cases.

In its lawsuit, the Northern Arapaho Tribe said it has seen child welfare and foster care costs associated with opioid-addicted parents skyrocket, their health services overwhelmed, and the undermining of its economic independence.

The tribe wants to recover from the defendants revenues and profits from opioid distribution; past and future expenses caused by the epidemic; compensatory damages for treating addicted patients and infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; and other damages.

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