Okla.'s $572M Win In J&J Opioid Fight On Shaky Ground

By Jeff Overley (August 28, 2019, 8:55 PM EDT) -- A first-of-its-kind court decision blaming Johnson & Johnson for rampant painkiller abuse in Oklahoma rests on fragile legal conclusions that seem vulnerable to appeal and could fail to influence judges in other high-stakes opioid cases, experts say.

Monday's decision by Oklahoma Judge Thad Balkman awarded $572 million to the Sooner State after concluding that J&J disseminated "false, deceptive and misleading" messages about prescription narcotics and thereby created a "public nuisance."

The ruling served as a dramatic denouement for Oklahoma's case, which produced the first trial over drugmaker liability for America's deadly plague of opioid addiction. And the outcome "does create a...

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