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Retired Oklahoma judge to mediate opioid settlement funds

June 18, 2019
FILE - In this April 20, 2015 file photo, then Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Steven Taylor accepts his Reflections of Hope medallion at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum in Oklahoma City. Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman said Monday, June 17, 2019, that retired Judge Steven Taylor will serve as special master to help find a way to handle the May 26 settlement arising from a lawsuit that accused Teva Pharmaceuticals and other drug companies of contributing to the opioid epidemic. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — A former Oklahoma State Supreme Court justice will attempt to resolve a dispute over how to disburse an $85 million settlement of a state lawsuit with Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Cleveland Count District Judge Thad Balkman said Monday that retired Judge Steven Taylor will serve as special master to help find a way to handle the funds arising from a lawsuit that accused drug companies of contributing to the opioid epidemic.

Gov. Kevin Stitt, lawmakers and cities say the May 26 settlement conflicts with a law directing any settlement funds into the state treasury. The law was passed after lawmakers grumbled about how state Attorney General Mike Hunter structured a $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma in the lawsuit.

Oklahoma’s lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over the opioid epidemic is continuing.

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