A California judge rejected drugmakers’ efforts to end a landmark opioid trial in which Golden State communities contend that marketing of narcotic painkillers caused an addiction epidemic.

The ruling from Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson preserved allegations that divisions of Johnson & Johnson, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan PLC created a “public nuisance” in the form of the opioid crisis. The decision followed oral arguments on the drugmakers’ motions for judgment in their favor after the communities rested their case nearly two months into the trial.

The trial, which began in mid-April, is just the second against drugmakers in the wave of more than 3,000 opioid crisis lawsuits filed by cities, counties and states. The first occurred in 2019 and saw Oklahoma win a $465 million judgment against J&J, which it is appealing. A trial against drug distributors is underway in West Virginia federal court, and a trial against drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies will start next week in New York state court.

LAW360: https://www.law360.com/trials/articles/1393753/drugmakers-can-t-end-calif-opioid-trial-judge-rules

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