An Oklahoma judge found Johnson & Johnson guilty in fueling the state’s opioid crises and ordered the corporation to pay $572 million in a landmark ruling with vast implications. The ruling by Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman in Norman, Oklahoma in favor of the state against Johnson & Johnson is one of the biggest monetary awards in U.S. history.

In making his ruling, Judge Balkman said Johnson & Johnson bears responsibility for helping to fuel the state’s opioid epidemic by aggressively marketing painkillers. Judge Balkman took about a month to make this judgement after a seven-week trial.

A brief statement by Johnson & Johnson said, “Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the opioid judgment in Oklahoma.”

“J&J acted as the kingpin behind this public health emergency, profiting at every stage,” declared the lawsuit filed against the company by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter.

Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $572 Million To Oklahoma In Opioid Case 1

This was the first such case against a drugmaker to go to trial and it could set a precedent for cases across the country. Judge Balkman’s ruling could give lawyers a new strategy for holding large corporations accountable.

—CBS News