After losing the nation’s first major opioid trial in Oklahoma this summer, Johnson & Johnson lawyers sought to reduce the company's liability. Now, a judge has chopped more than $100 million off the verdict.
Judge Thad Balkman slashed the verdict to $465 million—from $572 million—based on a miscalculation he made in determining the original verdict, The Wall Street Journal reports. After the first decision, state officials sought to secure more payments, but Judge Balkman rejected that effort.
The $465 million figure covers opioid epidemic abatement costs for one year. Previously, state officials attempted squeezing 20 years of payments or more.
The verdict is “neither supported by the facts nor the law,” a J&J representative said, as quoted by the WSJ. The company plans to appeal.
The case in Oklahoma is separate from the national opioid litigation centered in Cleveland federal court. Oklahoma prosecutors originally sued J&J, Teva and Purdue Pharma, but the latter two companies settled ahead of trial for a combined $355 million. In the federal litigation, thousands of cities, counties and other groups have sued opioid makers and distributors. Dozens of state attorneys general have sued over the crisis as well.
Last week, settlement discussions in the larger litigation continued in Washington, D.C., according to WSJ. J&J has offered $4 billion to settle the cases it faces, while distributors offered $18 billion and Teva offered billions in free drugs.
In a new twist, nine large cities and counties wrote last week that they’re unsatisfied with the current proposal, according to WSJ. It's “too little, too late” and doesn’t adequately address the crisis, they said.