Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Ohio hospital where doctor accused of opioid murders worked settles lawsuits

The Ohio hospital that employed a doctor charged with 25 counts of murder for giving often fatal doses of opioid painkillers to dozens of sick patients said on Tuesday it has settled two wrongful death lawsuits for a total of $9 million. Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System settled lawsuits that claim Dr. William Husel authorized drugs that led to the deaths of Donald McClung, 58, in September and Rebecca Walls, 75, in November.

U.S. to states: School lunch changes none of your business

As schools begin reopening their doors to children nationwide, the U.S. government has told a federal judge that states have no power to sue over new rules they say make school meals less healthy. In a Monday night court filing, the government said New York, five other states and Washington, D.C., could not sue based on speculation that changes to the federally funded National School Lunch Program could cause health problems for children and require more spending on treatment.

Couple wanted for murder in Arizona escape from guards during transport

A couple wanted for murder in Arizona escaped from custody when they overpowered guards who were transporting them through Utah, officials said on Tuesday, adding that the man and woman are considered armed and dangerous. Blane Barksdale, 56, and Susan Barksdale, 59, broke free on Monday evening from two guards in Blanding, a rural town in southeast Utah, the Tucson Police Department said in a statement.

Federal judge expected to rule on restrictive Missouri abortion law

A federal judge was expected to decide on Tuesday whether to block a Missouri law banning abortion after eight weeks except in cases of medical emergency, according to court documents. Women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union sued Missouri last month over the law, which also bans abortions sought on the grounds of the fetus' race, sex or disability and makes it a felony for doctors to perform abortions in violation of the law.

Trump administration taps disaster, cyber funds to cover immigration

The Trump administration is shifting $271 million earmarked for disaster aid and cyber security to pay for immigration-related facilities, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a leading congressional Democrat said on Tuesday. The money, which was also set aside for the U.S. Coast Guard, will be used to pay for detention facilities and courts for migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. DHS officials say they have been overwhelmed by a surge of asylum-seeking migrants who are fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

Actress Lori Loughlin waves off attorney conflict in U.S. college scam case

Actress Lori Loughlin on Tuesday waved off concerns about a potential conflict involving the lawyers who will defend the "Full House" star and her husband against charges of participating in a U.S. college admissions scam. Federal prosecutors have accused Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli of paying $500,000 to get their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California through bribery as purported crew recruits.

Purdue Pharma in discussion on $10 billion-$12 billion offer to settle opioid lawsuits: sources

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and its owners, the Sackler family, are in discussion to settle more than 2,000 opioid lawsuits against the company for $10 billion to $12 billion, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. Purdue is among several drugmakers and distributors that have been sued for fueling an opioid addiction crisis in the United States, which claimed 400,000 lives from 1999 to 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. to test mirrorless, camera-based systems in autos

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to test how drivers could use cameras to replace traditional rearview mirrors in automobiles, a technology already allowed in other countries, the agency said on Tuesday. The planned test by the agency known as NHTSA would examine "driving behavior and lane change maneuver execution" in cars with traditional mirrors and camera-based visibility systems, the department said in a notice offering the public a chance to comment.

Exclusive: Falwell steered Liberty University land deal benefiting his personal trainer

Evangelical leader and prominent Donald Trump backer Jerry Falwell Jr personally approved real estate transactions by his nonprofit Christian university that helped his personal fitness trainer obtain valuable university property, according to real estate records, internal university emails and interviews. Around 2011, Falwell, president of Liberty University in Virginia, and his wife, Rebecca, began personal fitness training sessions with Benjamin Crosswhite, then a 23-year-old recent Liberty graduate. Now, after a series of university real estate transactions signed by Falwell, Crosswhite owns a sprawling 18-acre racquet sports and fitness facility on former Liberty property. Last year, a local bank approved a line of credit allowing Crosswhite's business to borrow as much as $2 million against the property.

'Eats away at my soul': Epstein accusers testify weeks after his suicide

A succession of women who said Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused them at a young age voiced anger and defiance in a packed New York courtroom on Tuesday, some lamenting that the financier's suicide deprived them of the opportunity to obtain justice. "The fact that I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at my soul," accuser Jennifer Araoz said during a 2-1/2 hour hearing before U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who let the women testify despite the fact that Epstein's death meant he would never face a trial.