Oklahoma Opioid Settlement: $270 Million
In 2017, the state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against thirteen opioid manufacturers, asserting claims for fraud, consumer protection violations, public nuisance, and Oklahoma Medicaid violations. All of the claims stemmed from what the state attorney general characterized as the companies' "deceptive and misleading prescription opioid marketing campaign," which the complaint alleged was the cause of a devastating public health crisis and financial burden on the state of Oklahoma. In short, Oklahoma was seeking recovery of money it had spent to treat and fight the opioid epidemic in its state. Many other states and governmental entities have since followed suit, bringing similarly fashioned lawsuits that eventually made their way into the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation (MDL No. 2804), which is currently pending before the Honorable Dan Polster in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Indeed, the Opioid MDL is now home to thousands of cases against the opioid manufacturers, seeking to hold the industry responsible for the addiction and death it has reeked across America for more than two decades now.
Today marked the first significant victory in the fight against the opioid industry, with Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announcing that his state had reached a settlement totaling $270 million against one of the main defendants, Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin. Earlier this month, Purdue failed to convince the Oklahoma trial court to delay the fast-approaching trial date of May 28, 2019, and the inevitably of trial was no doubt an impetus for the resolution. The case remains set for trial against the remaining defendants. A copy of the "Consent Judgment" detailing the terms of the settlement can be found on the court's docket, under today's date (March 26, 2019).