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Oklahoma Attorney general Mike Hunter says Johnson & Johnson CEO should 'write a check' instead of filing an appeal

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Since a $572 million verdict was announced Monday in Oklahoma’s opioid case, state Attorney General Mike Hunter has been trying to goad Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky into paying the judgment rather than filing an appeal.

In an interview with The Oklahoman on Tuesday, Hunter said Gorsky could pay the money and “avoid the hypocrisy” of appealing the judge’s decision just after joining an effort to broaden corporate responsibility.

“Actions speak louder than words,” Hunter said. “He needs to write a check.”

Hunter was referring to a recent statement by the Business Roundtable, an organization of about 200 large U.S. corporations, including Johnson & Johnson. The organization said in a new statement of purpose that chief executive officers should lead their corporations to benefit all stakeholders, including “customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders.”

In a Business Roundtable news release, Gorsky said, “This new statement better reflects the way corporations can and should operate today.

“It affirms the essential role corporations can play in improving our society when CEOs are truly committed to meeting the needs of all stakeholders.”

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman on Monday found Johnson & Johnson had engaged in fraud and deceptive marketing practices that violated the state’s public nuisance law and contributed to the opioid crisis. He ordered the company to pay $572 million, primarily for treatment and prevention programs.

Johnson & Johnson, and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, immediately vowed to appeal, saying the verdict was flawed in numerous ways.

Hunter on Monday referenced the Business Roundtable statement and said he had a message for Gorsky.

“I’m asking the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky, to put his money where his mouth is and get out his checkbook,” Hunter said.

In a statement on Tuesday, John Sparks, a Norman attorney who is part of the legal team for Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., said, “You can’t sue your way to solving the opioid crisis.

“Johnson & Johnson is committed to working with many parties to address the unmet needs of those impacted by this crisis. You also can’t shortcut the legal process. We will move ahead with an appeal because the facts and law are on our side.”

Related Photos
<strong>State's attorney Reggie Whitten, right, and Attorney General Mike Hunter prepare to leave the courtroom Monday after Judge Thad Balkman read a summary of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]</strong>

State's attorney Reggie Whitten, right, and Attorney General Mike Hunter prepare to leave the courtroom Monday after Judge Thad Balkman read a summary of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e938bbf319955379c2fdece306026c80.jpg" alt="Photo - State's attorney Reggie Whitten, right, and Attorney General Mike Hunter prepare to leave the courtroom Monday after Judge Thad Balkman read a summary of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" State's attorney Reggie Whitten, right, and Attorney General Mike Hunter prepare to leave the courtroom Monday after Judge Thad Balkman read a summary of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> State's attorney Reggie Whitten, right, and Attorney General Mike Hunter prepare to leave the courtroom Monday after Judge Thad Balkman read a summary of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9ed0767d2994896691bd71170464503f.jpg" alt="Photo - State's attorneys and Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner led by Attorney General Mike Hunter, center, take to the media after Judge Thad Balkman delivered his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="State's attorneys and Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner led by Attorney General Mike Hunter, center, take to the media after Judge Thad Balkman delivered his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>State's attorneys and Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner led by Attorney General Mike Hunter, center, take to the media after Judge Thad Balkman delivered his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b15b4873d2fb38659f9bc078e29986cf.jpg" alt="Photo - Defense attorney Sabrina Strong speaks to the media afte Judge Thad Balkman delivered his summery decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Defense attorney Sabrina Strong speaks to the media afte Judge Thad Balkman delivered his summery decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Defense attorney Sabrina Strong speaks to the media afte Judge Thad Balkman delivered his summery decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-537e35c5c0a1c74eb403e37e36c70cd9.jpg" alt="Photo - Attorney General Mike Hunter and the State's attorneys listen in as Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Attorney General Mike Hunter and the State's attorneys listen in as Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Attorney General Mike Hunter and the State's attorneys listen in as Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f87064d9f2251584a435361a638e0d99.jpg" alt="Photo - Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c57e27e666af1e839be8b29bd9bb27fb.jpg" alt="Photo - Defense attorney Larry Ottaway listens in as Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nation’s opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Defense attorney Larry Ottaway listens in as Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nation’s opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Defense attorney Larry Ottaway listens in as Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nation’s opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-28e1664ef5770913cb5eebf0caf740a6.jpg" alt="Photo - State's attorney Reggie Whitten, right, and Attorney General Mike Hunter prepare to leave the courtroom after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="State's attorney Reggie Whitten, right, and Attorney General Mike Hunter prepare to leave the courtroom after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>State's attorney Reggie Whitten, right, and Attorney General Mike Hunter prepare to leave the courtroom after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d53ecc30c93f63690d31dd8b4c7c5328.jpg" alt="Photo - Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-32d314e74edb34961c18e527b3fbf0e8.jpg" alt="Photo - Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision to a full courtroom during the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision to a full courtroom during the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision to a full courtroom during the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bbbb2ac042c1608b178267b49cb8859f.jpg" alt="Photo - Craig Box, father of Austin Box, spakes with Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner before Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Craig Box, father of Austin Box, spakes with Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner before Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Craig Box, father of Austin Box, spakes with Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner before Judge Thad Balkman reads a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-839050aba88309a648b0acb027ea5b32.jpg" alt="Photo - Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer arrives to the courtroom to hear Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer arrives to the courtroom to hear Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer arrives to the courtroom to hear Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9b345158c2b280609b2e39c5653a962c.jpg" alt="Photo - Attorney General Mike Hunter speaks to the media after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nation’s opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="Attorney General Mike Hunter speaks to the media after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nation’s opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>Attorney General Mike Hunter speaks to the media after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nation’s opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-cfb3808e60a4054e39f42372c8b09be6.jpg" alt="Photo - A full courtroom listens to Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] " title="A full courtroom listens to Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] "><figcaption>A full courtroom listens to Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/Pool] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7bbacae06bc776c545066059685a5941.jpg" alt="Photo - Attorney General Mike Hunter looks on as Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner, speaks to the media after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="Attorney General Mike Hunter looks on as Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner, speaks to the media after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Attorney General Mike Hunter looks on as Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner, speaks to the media after Judge Thad Balkman read a summery of his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-01a4ee5a1bc673c46e861239947bf1a4.jpg" alt="Photo - Judge Thad Balkman enters the courtroom before he delivers his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="Judge Thad Balkman enters the courtroom before he delivers his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Judge Thad Balkman enters the courtroom before he delivers his decision in the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the State of Oklahoma, that Johnson and Johnson pay $572 million to a plan to abate the opioid crisis. The proceeding were the first public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 U.S. lawsuits aimed at holding drug companies accountable for the nationÕs opioid crisis. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›

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