Oklahoma AG to Appeal Judge’s Opioid Ruling in J&J Case

November 25, 2019

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says he plans to appeal a judge’s order directing consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson to pay the state $465 million to help address the state’s opioid crisis.

Hunter said the judge’s final order only covers one year of the state’s proposed abatement plan and that the actual costs to clean up the damage from the opioid crisis are much higher.

“Judge Balkman’s conduct of both pre-trial and trial proceedings was informed and balanced,” Hunter said in a media release. “His final order was correct and evidence-based as to causation and Johnson & Johnson’s culpability. However, we respectfully disagree with his order where it says Johnson & Johnson must only fund one year of cleaning up the public nuisance he found Johnson & Johnson created, after the company deceived and bombarded our doctors and Oklahomans with lies, leading to the deadliest manmade public health crisis in our nation’s history.”

Attorneys for the company also say they plan to appeal.

Johnson & Johnson had asked the judge to consider reducing the final award based on pre-trial settlements totaling $355 million the state reached with other defendants in the case.

Cleveland County Judge Thad Balkman initially ordered the company to pay $572 million, but later reduced that amount to $465 million after acknowledging a miscalculation.

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