This third trial follows two successful settlements between Oklahoma and Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Oklahoma is seeking damages ranging from $12.7 billion to $17.5 billion over the next 20–30 years from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals for its role in escalating the opioid crisis. J&J is expected to defend itself by focusing on the state’s broad use of the public nuisance law.
Previously, Oklahoma won settlements from Purdue Pharma ($270 million) and Teva Pharmaceuticals ($85 million). There are thousands of other lawsuits in other jurisdictions in the United States, with the numbers of cases also growing in Europe and elsewhere. In Cleveland, approximately 1,600 cases have been combined. In this case, Purdue ex-CEO Richard Sackler admitted (in a leaked deposition) that the company patented a "self-destructing document and email messaging system,” which could impact its ability to defend against future lawsuits. The system was designed to destroy emails or documents at a predetermined time, even if they'd been forwarded to people outside the company, with the patent explicitly referencing its value in dealing with litigation.