Johnson & Johnson, the medical device company, agreed to a $20.4 million settlement with two Ohio counties in a federal lawsuit over opioid deaths. There are currently more than 100 lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies in the state seeking damages for their role in causing the opioid crisis.
The agreement will still have to be approved by a judge.
According to a statement by Johnson & Johnson, the company will pay $10 million in combined settlements to Cuyahoga and Summit counties. It will pay $5 million of the counties’ legal fees and other costs associated with trial preparation and another $5.4 million to non-profit organizations that are fighting against the opioid epidemic in the state.
As part of the settlement agreement, Johnson & Johnson would not make any admission of liability.
“The settlement allows the company to avoid the resource demands and uncertainty of a trial as it continues to seek meaningful progress in addressing the nation’s opioid crisis,” the statement said. “The company recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need.”
The trial was scheduled to begin on Oct. 21, 2019.
Because the agreement is still pending, neither county would comment on the record.
Johnson & Johnson is still battling about 2,000 other lawsuits in the country for its role in the opioid crisis.