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Oklahoma judge expected to rule Monday in opioid case

August 21, 2019
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Judge Thad Balkman adjusts a telephone on the bench so that State's attorney Brad Beckworth, who could not be present, can listen to a hearing in regard to the request of CBS News/60 Minutes to unseal certain documents relating to pleadings filed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Cephalon and associated companies, in Norman, Okla., Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, Pool)
1 of 3
Judge Thad Balkman adjusts a telephone on the bench so that State's attorney Brad Beckworth, who could not be present, can listen to a hearing in regard to the request of CBS News/60 Minutes to unseal certain documents relating to pleadings filed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Cephalon and associated companies, in Norman, Okla., Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, Pool)

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma judge is expected to rule next week on whether consumer products company Johnson & Johnson helped fuel the state’s opioid epidemic in the first such case against a drugmaker to go to trial.

A court spokesman says Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman is expected to read his decision in open court at 3 p.m. Monday.

Before the six-week trial began on May 28 , two other groups of defendants who manufactured opioid drugs reached settlements with Oklahoma.

Oklahoma claims the companies helped create a public nuisance by aggressively marketing painkillers and downplaying the risk of addiction. The state estimates it will cost as much as $17 billion to abate the crisis.

Attorneys for the company maintain they acted responsibly and followed strict industry regulations.

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