Cleveland Co. Judge Adjusts Abatement Total Against Johnson & Johnson In State's Opioid Case

Friday, November 15th 2019, 3:34 pm
By: LeighAnne Manwarren

The Cleveland County judge has issued a final judgment in the case against Johnson & Johnson brought on by the state of Oklahoma. 

In the judgment, Judge Thad Balkman reaffirmed the company violated the state's public nuisance law.

The sum total for the one-year abatement is $465,026,711 to help alleviate the state's opioid crisis.

This is down from the original $572,102,028, which Johnson & Johnson successfully argued the total was miscalculated. The company's attorneys argued Balkman made a math error, ruling the consumer products giant had to pay more than $107 million for education services instead of $107,633.

“The cost for Johnson and Johnson to pay is $107,633. That’ll be the last time I use that calculator,” Balkman said during the October hearing. 

Related: Cleveland Co. Judge Admits $107 Million Error In Opioid Ruling 

Prosecutors at the Oklahoma Attorney General's Officer have not weighed in on the new decision yet. 

“We are thoughtfully and thoroughly reviewing it and will respond in a timely manner. We will be providing a formal response in the next few days,” said Alex Gerszewski, Oklahoma Attorney General Office spokesman.

This was the first case to go to trial between a state and a drug company in relation to the opioid drug crisis.  

Johnson & Johnson said the company still plans to appeal and released the following statement after the abatement was reduced: 

"We are moving forward with our appeal of this judgment because it is neither supported by the facts nor the law. 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."

The outside counsel for Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., also released a statement:

"Today marks another procedural step on the way to appeal. As was said when the judgment was announced, the Company has very strong grounds to have this decision overturned. The Company manufactured FDA-approved pain medicines, took steps to educate doctors so they could make informed treatment decisions with their patients, and trained their sales representatives to lawfully provide appropriate and accurate information to doctors."

Read more: Judge Rules In State’s Favor Against Johnson & Johnson In Historic Opioid Trial 


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