CVN screenshot of attorney Bradley Beckworth, representing the Oklahoma AG's office, delivering his closing statement. Click here to see video from the full trial
Norman, OK - An Oklahoma state court judge on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay the state $572 million in the first lawsuit in the country to go to trial over claims drug companies are responsible for the ongoing opioid crisis.
J&J’s stock rose about two percent following Judge Thad Balkman’s reading of his decision from the bench. Balkman found that “misleading marketing and promotion of opioids” by J&J subsidiary Janssen had a widespread adverse public health impact in Oklahoma, but he declined to award the more than $17 billion sought by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter.
Hunter called the outcome a "major victory for the State of Oklahoma."
J&J said it would appeal the ruling, calling the decision in the case “flawed.”
Judge Balkman’s decision was webcast live by Courtroom View Network. CVN also webcast and recorded the historic seven-week trial that preceded Monday’s announcement. Judge Balkman heard the case without a jury, and the testimony gave a potential preview of an upcoming opioid trial in federal court that includes numerous drug companies.
Besides being the first civil trial in a state’s opioid lawsuit, the case also marked the first time a civil trial was webcast gavel-to-gavel in Oklahoma.
Judge Balkman explained the $572 million figure equals the cost for one year of the state’s abatement plan to fight the opioid crisis, and that the state hadn’t provided sufficient evidence for potential abatement/treatment costs beyond one year.
J&J was the only defendant in the Oklahoma trial. OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceutical reached settlements with the state before the trial began. The trial specifically involved Janssen’s marketing and distribution of the opioid painkillers Duragesic and Nucynta, which J&J argued made up a small fraction of the opioids prescribed in the state.
High-definition video of the full trial, including digital images of the exhibits and demonstratives shown int he courtroom, is available to CVN Video Library subscribers for just $99/month.