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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) -- A Tennessee judge has set a July 26 start for a trial to decide damages against an opioid manufacturer in a lawsuit over the company's role in the epidemic.

Sullivan County Circuit Court Chancellor E.G. Moody set the date Thursday after entering a default judgment against Endo Pharmaceutical earlier this week, a rare case of a judge making a decision before a trial was held over the company's liability.

The judge said it was necessary because of a "coordinated strategy" by Endo and its attorneys to delay proceedings, deprive plaintiffs of information and interfere with the administration of justice. The issues surrounded the discovery phase of the case.

The company disagreed with the judge's assessment and has said it will appeal.

The lawsuit's plaintiffs include a child born addicted to opioids. They are seeking $2.4 billion.

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