The state accused Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals of creating a public nuisance that cost the state billions of dollars and destroys thousands of lives. Johnson and Johnson denied any wrongdoing and said a "scapegoat" had been made.
Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkan will issue its decision at 3:00 p.m. (4:00 pm ET) in his courtroom in Norman College.
"This would be the largest court hearing in US history and would have far-reaching consequences," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
If the judge is on the side of Johnson and Johnson, it would give the pharmaceutical industry a precedent for defense in cases across the country, observers said.
depends on whether Balkman buys the state's public nuisance theory – that Johnson and Johnson have created a public health crisis in the state. Because opioids have a legitimate medical purpose, observers said, it will be interesting to see if the theory of public nuisance holds up.
"If the judge rejects this theory," Tobias said, "plaintiffs in other cases will rely more on more traditional theories of tort law as product liability and negligence."
From Secular to Fireworks
Balkman's decision comes after 33 days of testimony and 109 witnesses. The case involved everything from hours of worldly pharmacology testimony to courtroom fireworks that were a sight.
"I've never seen a company trying to hide the truth more than this," says Brad Beckert,
Johnson and Johnson's lawyer Sabrina Strong denied: "This is not about hiding the truth."
At another point, state mental health commissioner Terry White broke down. in tears and angry when Johnson and Johnson's lawyer asked if the state was responsible for the opioid epidemic. Johnson and Johnson, White said, pressed the opioids in Oklahoma, "without telling us that you would do it, without you still assuming any responsibility today.
" We are the only reason, the only reason that life is being rescued in the state, "she said.
Cal Hobson, once one of the most powerful lawmakers in Oklahoma, watched every hour of the process, in person or online. He called that moment – see White in tears – "one of the most telling moments" of the whole process. According to him, Hobson, the case of Johnson and Johnson went down from there.
"It was just devastating," says Hobson, who served a total of 28 years in the Oklahoma home and senate.
Johnson & Johnson call state case unclear
This left Johnson and Johnson alone to defend themselves in court.
In his conclusion, Hunter accused the company of "a cunning, cynical and fraudulent scheme to create the need for opioids."
Beckert emphasized that Cleveland County alone has 135 prescription opioids for each adult. "If you overdo it, people will die," he said. "This is a simple answer to a complex problem."
Johnson and Johnson's lawyer, Larry Ottawa, urged Balkanman not to buy the state's argument, saying the company had always been patient-centered and did nothing wrong.
"Only a company that believes its innocence will come in and defend itself against a state," he said, "but we accept the challenge because we believe we are right."
Johnson and Johnson argued in their final court files that the state's case was frivolous, saying that accusation of public nuisance was based on "radical theories that have been backed up by more than a century of Oklahoma jurisprudence."
"In addition to these major legal defects, the state has undoubtedly failed to prove its case," said Johnson and Johnson.
The drug company blew up state witnesses, arguing that the state did not provide an explanation for how its subsidiary, Janssen, was ext
Although Johnson & Johnson is best known for its baby powder, the company has for years marketed the widespread use of the opioid tablet Nucynta , which it sold for $ 1 billion in 2015. It still makes a patch of fentanyl, n arena Duragesic.
The state cited the fact that Johnson and Johnson once owned two subsidiaries in Tasmania, which allowed it to supply more than 60% of all active ingredients for opioids manufactured and sold in the United States. , including the painkiller OxyContin, manufactured by Purdue Pharma.
It is these actions, the state argues, that have led to "opioid pain medicines targeting the unsuspecting public since the 1990s."
Oklahoma is one of dozens of states that sue drug users and resist the first. A federal trial is scheduled for this fall, in which nearly 2,000 cases involving cities, counties, communities and tribal lands have been turned into one, accusing opioid makers of causing the epidemic.
In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it the leading cause of injury in the United States, according to the CDC, and of those deaths, nearly 68% participated in a prescription or illicit opioid.