Oklahoma Opioid Verdict: Millions for a Public Nuisance

oklahoma opioid nusiance

On August 26th, a district court judge in Oklahoma ruled Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, should pay $572 million. Supposedly, Johnson and Johnson created the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma, and in turn, caused a nuisance.

This will not be a legal precedent-setting outcome as Andrew S. Pollis, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Ohio states. He was asked about the lawsuit before the verdict. The case is based on the nuisance statue in Oklahoma and opioids make it a very unique case. Nuisance laws as discussed in a NY Times article usually look at something that interferes with the general public. This includes roads, waterways, and public areas. Generally, the Nuisance lawsuits have involved lead paint, guns, pollution of air or water and noise.

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Johnson and Johnson Forced to Fuel the Opioid Epidemic?

johnson and johnson oklahoma opioid epidemic
Ryan Lau | @RyanLau71R

On Monday, Oklahoma state prosecutors won a case against pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson; claiming the corporation pushed doctors to prescribe opioids and thus furthered the opioid epidemic, the prosecutors convinced a state judge to rule in their favor. As a result, Johnson and Johnson will have to pay over $574 million for their damages. But there’s a major issue with this verdict: the state of Oklahoma has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. Their part in the drug war has caused immeasurable suffering to countless people.

Read moreJohnson and Johnson Forced to Fuel the Opioid Epidemic?