Judge rules for Oklahoma, awards approximately $572 million in opioid crisis

Posted on: 8/30/19

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman, ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma on Monday in its lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, awarding approximately $572 million to help abate the opioid crisis, saying the company helped create.  

“The opioid crisis has ravaged the State of Oklahoma, it must be abated immediately,” Judge Balkman said from the bench.

After more than six weeks of testimony before the judge, he said Oklahoma had met its burden to show the company has created a public nuisance. The ruling is the first of its kind in the country to find an opioid manufacturer liable for the harm caused from the opioid crisis in the U.S.

Oklahoma outlined an abatement plan that would range between $12.6 billion for 20 years or $17.5 billion over 30 years. Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys argued that estimate is inflated and the state was trying to hold the company liable with no evidence it caused the crisis.

Balkman awarded Oklahoma $571.1 million for the abatement program. Johnson & Johnson has indicated it will appeal Balkman’s decision and the award to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

To view OHA communications sent to hospital CEO’s earlier this week, click here