On July 3, 2019, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) filed a motion to seek dismissal of the Oklahoma opioid lawsuit on the grounds that the state failed to produce enough evidence to support its case. A final call, deciding whether to throw it out or to allow it to proceed is expected on Monday, July 8, when each party would have an hour each to argue its case before the judge. The drugmaker has asked Judge Thad Balkman to toss the case, claiming that the company has been made a "scapegoat" and the state's effort as legally illogical and defective.
J&J and its subsidiaries have been accused of the opioid epidemic by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. The state has presented a $17.5 billion abatement plan over 30 years to fix the opioid epidemic. Hunter also pointed out the fact that J&J once owned two subsidiaries in Tasmania, which supplied 60% of all active ingredients to the opioids manufacturers in the United States, including Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of the painkiller OxyContin.
More than 1,900 opioid lawsuits have been filed under MDL No. 2804 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) which is presided by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster.