Johnson & Johnson, and other manufacturers, are on trial in California state court and settled with New York state and two New York counties last month on the eve of the trial. The New York settlement will pay $230 million in funding over nine years, with an additional $33 million for attorneys’ costs and fees, which will be deducted from the national amount when finalized.
Really a sticking point over the years was attorneys’ fees. Numerous lawyers worked for varying amounts and during the course of negotiations, they fought among themselves about who should be paid how much. According to the agreement, private attorneys representing thousands of counties and municipalities will be paid approximately $1.6 billion in fees and costs, $50 million in costs and approximately $350 million for private attorneys working for states. Will be done.
Johnson & Johnson, widely known as a company that prefers to take cases to trial rather than settle, has faced rivers of adverse publicity in recent years. last month, United States Supreme Court Get a $2.1 billion verdict against the company for asbestos deaths from its talcum powder. The company was also battered by reports of rare cases of blood clots and a neurological condition linked to its single-dose COVID vaccine and the recall of some of its sunscreens.
But due to rising legal costs, the plaintiffs also faced increasing pressure to settle.
And most importantly, so did number of people Addicted to prescription opioids and street drugs during the pandemic. Last week, the federal government announced that 2020 saw a record number of opioid overdose deaths, both illegal and prescribed.
Specifically, the settlement fund is not intended to compensate the families of victims of the two-decade-long opioid crisis during which at least 500,000 people died from prescription and street opioid overdoses, according to federal data.
These cases were brought about largely by state, municipal and tribal governments under a theory known as “public nuisance” – that opioid supply chain companies were responsible for creating a disaster that interfered with public health. The remedy for a public nuisance claim is “elimination” – funding for programs to reduce the “nuisance”.
While critics of the current settlement argue that distributors have 17 years to fudge their share, defenders of the deal note that programs like addiction prevention, education and treatment need to be rooted out, over a sustained period. Cash will be required.
Sarah Maslin Neer contributed reporting.