In case you missed it, a court handed the State of Oklahoma a victory yesterday against Johnson & Johnson ordering the company to pay over a half billion dollars, short of the $17 billion the state was originally seeking, to fund addiction treatment, drug courts, and other services the state would need over the next twenty years according to a New York Times article.
It was a landmark case, and it could give hope to other states seeking damages from the opioid crisis. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is leading such effort in Georgia, and his office issued the following press release about Georgia’s opioid suit being accepted by the Business Case Division of the Gwinnett County Superior Court:
ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr today announced that The Metro Atlanta Business Case Division Judges Committee has granted a motion to transfer the State’s opioid litigation to the Business Case Division in Gwinnett County Superior Court.
“As we continue our multi-pronged fight against the opioid epidemic, we are pleased our lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors has been transferred to the Business Case Division of the Gwinnett County Superior Court,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “This is the proper venue for a case of this complexity and is good news for the people of Georgia.”
The Office of the Attorney General filed this action to protect its citizens from the devastating effects of the nationwide opioid crisis. Defendants are manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids. In this lawsuit, the State alleges these companies engaged in a campaign of deceptive and unfair marketing practices meant to downplay the risks and inflate the benefits of opioids to fuel artificial demand for their addictive products. Once they unleashed a deluge of opioids into Georgia, Defendants failed to prevent the diversion of their drugs away from legitimate medical providers and pharmacies and into the black market. These actions lit and fueled the ongoing opioid crisis, strained the State’s coffers and imposed a crushing human toll on Georgia’s communities.
This important case requires a forum equipped to handle its inevitably significant demands on the Court’s time and resources. The Business Court is such a forum. The State therefore respectfully requested that this matter be approved for transfer to the Business Case Division in Gwinnett County Superior Court.
The State’s motion is available by request or at law.ga.gov.
Please see more background on the State’s lawsuit HERE. And, for more information on the legal team assisting in this opioid investigation and litigation, please CLICK HERE.
The Attorney General has devoted every resource available at the Department of Law to combat the opioid epidemic. Other ways Attorney General Chris Carr is working in this space:
- Increasing communication and coordination through the Statewide Opioid Task Force;
- Cracking down on illegal prescribing through the Medicaid Fraud Division;
- Raising awareness about the dangers of opioid abuse through doseofrealityga.org;
- Partnering with agencies to reduce the stigma associated with opioid abuse; and
- Conducting training opportunities for law enforcement and prosecutors.