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Oklahoma Court Overturns Opioid Judgement Against J&J

Johnson & Johnson shares firmed, after Oklahoma's Supreme Court overturned a $465 million opioid ruling against the pharmaceutical titan.
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Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report shares firmed Tuesday, after the Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned a $465 million opioid ruling against the pharmaceutical titan.

The court ruled 5-1 that the state's public nuisance law doesn’t apply to the manufacturing, marketing and sales of prescription opioids, determining a trial judge went too far in using the law to punish JNJ, the court said.

"However grave the problem of opioid addition is in Oklahoma, public nuisance law does not provide a remedy for this harm," Justice James Winchester wrote.

“The court has allowed public nuisance claims to address discrete, localized problems, not policy problems.”

J&J and a spokesperson for Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor had no immediate comment for Reuters.

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The Oklahoma lawsuit represented the first of the more than 3,000 opioid cases against drug makers, drug distributors and pharmacies to go to trial, Reuters reported.

J&J on Tuesday closed at $162.51, down 0.2% on a down day for the overall market. J&J has firmed 4% year to date, trailing the 27% gain of the S&P 500.

Morningstar analyst Damien Conover puts fair value at $167 for the stock.

“Johnson & Johnson reported third-quarter results largely in line with our expectations, and we don’t expect any major change to our fair value estimate,” he wrote last month.

“We continue to view the stock as slightly undervalued with the consistency of growth reinforced by the firm’s wide moat not fully appreciated by the market.

“While the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt sales, J&J’s overall operations are trending back toward normalization.”