The Wall Street Journal: Johnson & Johnson Opioid Verdict Overturned by Oklahoma Supreme Court

November 09, 2021

The Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned a ruling that found drugmaker Johnson & Johnson liable for contributing to the state's opioid crisis. In the first lawsuit of its kind to go to trial, J&J was ordered in 2019 to pay US$465 million in damages it allegedly caused through the production, sale, and marketing the its painkillers. “The district court stepping into the shoes of the legislature by creating and funding government programs designed to address social and health issues goes too far,” the decision read. “This Court defers the policy-making to the legislative and executive branches and rejects the unprecedented expansion of public nuisance law.” J&J said that the “marketing and promotion of these important prescription pain medications were appropriate and responsible and did not cause a public nuisance.” This is one thousands of lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies for inciting an opioid crisis.

(O’Melveny serves as lead trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson in this matter.) 

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