$572M verdict against Johnson & Johnson in opioid suit is based on Oklahoma’s unusual public nuisance law

An Oklahoma judge ruled Monday that Johnson & Johnson is liable for $572 million for the public nuisance it created when it engaged in a marketing campaign that promoted opioid use.

The decision by Judge Thad Balkman of Cleveland County was the first to hold a drugmaker responsible for the opioid epidemic after a trial, report the New York Times, Law.com, Courthouse News Service, the Oklahoman and the Washington Post.

Balkman, who ruled after a bench trial, limited damages to the amount needed to fight the crisis for one year. Oklahoma had sought $17 billion. The Oklahoman reports “confusion” over whether the state can seek additional funding if the drug crisis persists.

In his ruling, Balkman said Johnson & Johnson had joined in a marketing campaign to spread the message that pain was being undertreated and prescription opioids carried a low risk of abuse.

— Read on www.abajournal.com/news/article/572m-verdict-against-jj-in-opioid-suit-is-based-on-oklahomas-unusual-public-nuisance-law


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