Settlement Still Possible in Opioid Case Against Johnson & Johnson

22 Jul, 2019 Bruce Burk


Sarasota, FL ( – With the ending of the weeks-long trial against Johnson & Johnson, all parties are now awaiting a decision from the federal judge. The Oklahoma attorney general wants the judge to find that the company is responsible for flooding the marketplace with addictive pain killers that have contributed to the opioid epidemic.

This case will be watched closely as there are hundreds of opioid related lawsuits throughout the country similar to this one.

The judge on the case is pushing the parties to settle. This is something that occurs often because a settlement is voluntary and is generally favored by the judicial system over continuing to litigate.

However, in large cases like these, settlement can be difficult because there are so many stake-holders. This can make coming to a consensus on the value of the case fairly difficult.

Opioids work by lowering the signals your body uses to send messages to your brain. When taken properly, they can help in assisting people who have had surgery, acute pain, or other conditions, such as cancer.

The problem is that these drugs can be easily misused and when that happens, people can become dependent or even addicted. Drugs like these can produce a pleasurable effect when misused, which is part of the reason they can be so misused.

People who are dependent on opioids may not realize it due to confusing symptoms with the underlying condition for which they were taking the drugs in the first place. Symptoms include vomiting, inability to make decisions, slurred speech, mood swings, irritability, and anxiety. If someone has overdosed on opioids, they may also have an irregular pulse, loss of consciousness, and unresponsiveness.

The dependencies and addictions to these drugs are caused by the pills’ causation of endorphins that make you feel good. Over time, you start to build up a tolerance and you need a larger quantity or stronger drugs to get the same effects. People who become addicted who have problems with their health insurance often turn to street drugs to produce the same effects as these opioids, which causes further problems with addiction.

The plaintiffs in these cases generally allege that the dangers of what was just described were not adequately presented to the people who were using them in the form of a warning or other method.

The complaints allege that the company and others pushed these addictive sales on people knowing of their addictive effects just to make a profit.

Now that the Oklahoma case is reaching its close, the parties may revisit the possibility of settlement. Sometimes, cases have to get through a large portion of the trial stage before the parties are ready to settle. However, given that the companies are being sued by so many parties, a settlement at this late stage may be taken as a sign of weakness.


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    About The Author

    • Bruce Burk

      Bruce Burk is an experienced workers' compensation defense attorney located in South Florida. He has also worked in civil litigation and criminal defense, handling more than 40 trials, both jury and non-jury. Burk received his law degree from the University of South Carolina and his bachelor's degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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