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Lawyers for the state of Oklahoma on Monday called on a judge to find pharmaceutical concern Johnson and Johnson legally culpable for the opioid crisis.
The state, which has seen per capita overdose death rates spike to nearly 20 per 100,000, asked the court to award it $17.5 billion in damages to help clean up the crisis, the Washington Post reported.
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The state previously reached enormous settlement deals with Purdue Pharma ($270 million) and Teva Pharmaceuticals ($85 million) before going to trial against J&J. The much larger sum it is seeking from J&J would be paid out over 30 years.
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In its closing arguments, Oklahoma attorneys argued that the negligence of J&J created a "public nuisance," which the company now has a legal obligation to mitigate. The enormous sum the state is asking for is meant to offset those costs.
"This company took the money. They cut and ran and they left us...
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