Judge orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $572M for opioid role

In a ruling that is expected to be appealed, an Oklahoma judge has determined that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped cause that state’s opioid crisis and ordered the companies to pay $572 million in restorative costs, according to a report in the Associated Press.

The ruling, by Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman, came after the first state opioid case to go to trial and could be influential in shaping negotiations over roughly 1,500 similar lawsuits filed by state, local, and tribal governments. Those cases are consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio.

The companies, which earlier had reached settlements with other defendant groups, are expected to appeal the ruling to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.