Johnson & Johnson appeals opioid verdict

Johnson & Johnson appeals opioid verdict

OKLAHOMA CITY – Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, companies ordered to pay $465 million to help Oklahoma recover from an opioid addiction epidemic, will press an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on claims that a judge made numerous errors in a trial held earlier this year.

The state alleged in a 2017 lawsuit filed against J&J and other drug companies that they created a public nuisance by engaging in aggressive, deceptive marketing that led to a vast oversupply and widespread abuse of prescription painkillers. Tens of thousands of Oklahomans have become hooked on the drugs and many have died.

Some 2,000 similar cases are pending across the nation, including dozens filed separately by towns and counties in Oklahoma. The White House Council of Economic Advisers published a report in 2015 estimating costs of the opioid crisis at more than $500 billion.

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman, who presided over a 33-day non-jury trial held in Norman, ruled that J&J and Janssen did create a public nuisance that affected entire communities and innumerable Oklahomans.

“The defendants’ acts and omissions were a direct cause of the public nuisance in Oklahoma. No act or omission by the state was a direct or proximate cause,” his ruling stated.

On Monday, attorneys for J&J filed paperwork arguing that the judge applied too broad an interpretation of public nuisance law.

“Disregarding a century of precedent, the court ruled for the first time that nuisance liability extends beyond real property use … (and) instead of limiting the state’s claim to Janssen’s allegedly misleading marketing, the court held Janssen responsible for third parties’ statements about medical science and for raw material sales authorized under DEA quotas,” the filing states. “Without explanation, the court found Janssen liable for the entirety of a complex crisis implicating a multitude of criminal, governmental, and medical actors.”

J&J attorneys also claim in their appeal that the company’s marketing of medications approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration should have been protected as free speech, and also that evidence presented by the state wasn’t enough to establish that either J&J or Janssen made false or misleading statements in their marketing of opioids.

“We recognize the opioid crisis is a tremendously complex public health issue and have deep sympathy for everyone affected. We do not believe litigation is the answer and are continuing to work with partners to find solutions,” J&J said in a press release.

The state has filed notice of its own intent to appeal the case. Attorney General Mike Hunter has said $465 million won’t be enough to reverse effects of the opioid epidemic and that the judge should have allowed for periodic reviews to determine if the drugmakers should be ordered to pay more. Hunter’s office didn’t issue any additional comment this week.

This Oklahoma judge DENIED J&J a trial by jury and that meant that this judge basically controlled the entire process and he was a ONE MAN JUDGE/JURY … This appeal doesn’t surprise me because of how this judge handle the whole process.  Unfortunately AK will be able to once again state his “opinion” as expert facts AND GET PAID HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS A HOUR DOING IT 🙁


2 Responses

  1. Well if thats the case I dont know why J&J doesnt question Kolondy “expertise”. All he is, is a shrink. I tried googling Kolondy. He must have paid someone off because the only crap you can find on him is his account. The guy is a fraud from the get go and its criminal that they pay this schumk that much money on a subject he knows nothing about other than his “opinion” .

  2. BECAUSE they just had to say “We recognize the opioid crisis is a tremendously complex public health issue” they may have lost the appeal aleady. It is NOT complex and the false complexities that have been and continue to be given birth too is what makes all these nooks and crannies the prosecution can feed on in an endless smorgasbord.

    It’s a illicit use AND street Fentanyl overdose issue from beginning to end.

    I suppose there will never be another court, at least in this day and age, in the United States, that will ever blame individuals for individual actions, NOOOOOOOOOO…!

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