Judge Admits Mathematical Error In Oklahoma Opioid Ruling
TULSA, Oklahoma - Johnson & Johnson attorneys were back in front of the judge on Tuesday arguing about the amount of money the judge ordered the company to pay in the State of Oklahoma's case.
Judge Thad Balkman initially ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for their part in creating Oklahoma's opioid crisis, and the company has been calling that decision into question ever since.
The drug company says the judge miscalculated how much money they should pay for one part of the state's plan to fix the opioid crisis by $107 million dollars
The judge admitted on Tuesday he made a mathematical error at his original judgment and said that the amount could be removed from the company's total lump sum in his final opinion.
As for all the other arguments presented at the hearing, the judge says he needs time to think about it.
Johnson & Johnson argues they should receive a "settlement credit" for the money drug makers Purdue and Teva agreed to pay meaning J-&-J's amount should be reduced by around $355 million. They say this is a term the State of Oklahoma already agreed to, but state's attorneys say that's absolutely not the case.
The state says it will cost more than $572 million for just one year of their plan which is how much Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay.
Mental health experts and addiction specialists testified the plan would need at least 20 years to fix, and state's attorneys said it's the judge's "duty and responsibility" to make sure the crisis is fixed, not that he's identified it exists.
"No one testified it would be just a year," said Brad Beckworth, attorney. "It was many, many years. State's still suffering. Hadn't gotten any better. People are dying and continue to die. All these problems are just too, too real.
"To stop short of doing what has to be done here - that would be terrible."
Johnson & Johnson's attorneys said the "yearly" plan was never brought up during the trial. Because of that, they don't think it's something the judge should entertain.
"When the state didn't recover billions anticipated, disappointed with amount, it changed course and changed argument about settlement credit," said Johnson & Johnson Attorney Sabrina Strong.
No word yet on when the judge is expected to rule on everything else discussed at Tuesday's hearing.