Opioid Litigation's Pillar Theory Is Suddenly Showing Cracks

By Cara Salvatore, Emily Field and Jeff Overley (November 10, 2021, 6:54 PM EST) -- The Oklahoma Supreme Court's erasure of a $465 million opioid verdict against Johnson & Johnson coupled with a similar ruling last week in California bodes ill for the legal theory carrying nationwide litigation, underscoring the hurdles in addressing a complex epidemic through the courts.

Tuesday's decision marks a shift in fortunes in the yearslong opioid litigation, casting new doubt on the central theory that the spread of addiction created a "public nuisance" by burdening not only users but their support networks, communities, and society at large.

The 2019 post-trial ruling by Judge Thad Balkman of Oklahoma against Johnson & Johnson, the first major...

Stay ahead of the curve

In the legal profession, information is the key to success. You have to know what’s happening with clients, competitors, practice areas, and industries. Law360 provides the intelligence you need to remain an expert and beat the competition.

  • Access to case data within articles (numbers, filings, courts, nature of suit, and more.)
  • Access to attached documents such as briefs, petitions, complaints, decisions, motions, etc.
  • Create custom alerts for specific article and case topics and so much more!


Hello! I'm Law360's automated support bot.

How can I help you today?

For example, you can type:
  • I forgot my password
  • I took a free trial but didn't get a verification email
  • How do I sign up for a newsletter?
Ask a question!