Development in Opioid Lawsuit
“Yesterday, alongside thousands of other local governments in this country, we were gratified to learn—after an eight-week trial in Oklahoma state court—that the Honorable Thad Balkman agreed with us that the municipalities in this country have been ravaged as a result of the opioid epidemic, and that Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) (and by logical extension its fellow opioid manufacturers) are the cause of that epidemic,” said acting Prescott City Attorney Matthew Podracky.
Specifically, Judge Balkman stated that “based upon [his] finding that the Defendants’ false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns have caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths, and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, [he] conclude[s] these are unlawful acts which ‘annoys, injuries, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, or safety of others.” Judge Balkman therefore concluded “That (a) 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.”
“This is only the beginning, of course,” said attorney Jeffrey Reeves, Esq., partner with Theodora Oringher PC, on behalf of the City of Prescott. “Now that J&J has been found liable to the tune of $572,102,028 for only the first year of an abatement plan, we are hopeful that the defendant opioid manufacturers and distributors will recognize their ethical, and now legal, obligation to the City of Prescott to provide the funding and resources necessary to abate the nuisance that they brought to our community.”