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Oklahoma judge denies motion to end case against drugmaker

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NORMAN, Okla. — An Oklahoma judge says the state’s ongoing opioid drug lawsuit against consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson can move forward.

District Judge Thad Balkman on Monday denied a motion from the defendant’s lawyers asking him to end Oklahoma’s public-nuisance lawsuit and rule in favor of the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company and its subsidiaries. The defendants filed the motion last week after the state rested its case. The trial began May 28.

Company attorneys argued the state’s case is an inappropriate use of a public-nuisance claim , typically reserved for disputes over property.

Oklahoma says the company helped fuel the opioid crisis in Oklahoma with an aggressive marketing campaign that overstated the effectiveness and understated the addiction risk of opioids. The state wants the company to pay to help alleviate the opioid crisis.

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