Oklahoma judge to deliver judgment in state’s opioid lawsuit

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma judge is expected to rule in the first state case to go to trial accusing an opioid drugmaker of being responsible for the devastating consequences of addiction to powerful painkillers.

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman is scheduled to deliver his judgment in open court at 3 p.m. Monday. The Oklahoma case is at the forefront of a wave of lawsuits against drug companies over the opioid crisis.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has called consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson a “kingpin” company that helped fuel the most devastating public health crisis in the state’s history. Company attorneys say they acted responsibly and that the evidence doesn’t support the state’s claim.

Two other groups of defendants that manufactured opioids reached settlements before the trial started May 28.

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