Attorney predicts Okla. opioid verdict will impact other pending cases

Updated: Aug. 29, 2019 at 5:02 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Monday marked a historic ruling. An Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson and Johnson to pay $572 million for its role in the opioid crisis.

Every day in America more than 130 people die after overdosing on opioids according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Now, cities and states across the country want to hold drug makers accountable and pay for their role in the opioid crisis.

Just this week, an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson and Johnson to payout the state.

“I was very gratified to see the judge’s opinion because what the judge recognized is what these companies have done is absolutely destroyed communities across the country and to clean up the destruction that they caused is going to take at least 20 years,” said Gerard Stranch.

Gerard Stranch represents District Attorneys General in 49 counties across Tennessee who are going after opioid manufacturers.

A vast majority of Stranch’s cases include pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma.

In a statement from the company a spokesperson said,

“The scale of the tragedy and the damage is so great that even if you bankrupt every single one of the companies that have been named as defendants there is going to be insufficient money to make people whole,” said Stranch.

In March, the City of Memphis filed a federal lawsuit against a group of opioid drug manufacturers and distributors, accusing them of fueling the addiction crisis.

Stranch predicts Monday’s verdict in Oklahoma will have opioid drug makers settling future cases.

“Any company that is looking at that verdict and looking at their balance sheets should be considering whether they can resolve their claims and still maintain themselves as a growing concern,” said Stranch.

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