Johnson & Johnson appeals Oklahoma’s $572M opioid ruling

OKLAHOMA CITY – Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson is appealing an Oklahoma judge’s $572 million order against the company and its subsidiaries for helping fuel the state’s opioid crisis.

The company filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday, arguing the ruling was an “unprecedented interpretation of Oklahoma public nuisance law.”

In his ruling last month, Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman ordered the company to pay $572 million to help address the damage the opioid crisis has caused in the state.

According to the ruling, Balkman found that the “Defendants engaged in false and misleading marketing of both their drugs and opioids generally; and (b) this conduct constitutes a public nuisance under extant Oklahoma law.” His order also stated that Johnson &Johnson’s practices were not protected by the First Amendment.

Attorneys for the company have said the $572 million figure was grossly inflated.

The state had presented the judge with a plan that would have cost up to $17.5 billion over 30 years.

A spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said their office is reviewing the appeal.

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