Judge Balkman makes $107-million “math” error in opioid case…

Remember when Oklahoma kinda-sorta-maybe-but-not-really won their lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson back in August? I argued that the penalty the state arrived at was a slap on the wrist compared to the damage that the drug corporation had done. If you read through the comments, however, some people made it seem like I was ungrateful and the $572 million to be awarded to Oklahoma was enough money to magically make up for everything.

It turns out that I was right about the state screwing up the judgement, but for the wrong reason.

Judge Thad Balkman – the guy that may have smoked too much chronic with Snoop at his high school reunion– made a $100-million math “error” when determining damages in the case

From Tulsa World:

NORMAN — A judge admitted Tuesday to making a $107 million math error in his verdict in the state’s opioid case.

“That will be the last time I use that calculator,” Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman said.

Uhm, I thought the whole reason people used calculators was to avoid math errors. Please explain how this happened?

Following a hearing Tuesday in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, District Judge Thad Balkman said he made a mistake in his August judgment ordering the company to pay the state $572 million to address the opioid crisis. That sum included $107 million for treating babies born addicted to opioids, when in fact Balkman said the figure should be $107,000

Wait a second. That’s not a math error. That’s just a stupid grade school fuck up in what happened to be the biggest court case in Oklahoma history! I know the standard for excellence in the Oklahoma judicial system is pretty low, but how do you accidentally tack $100-million to something and not notice?

Seriously, everything about this case is turning into an absolute embarrassment. Yeah, it’s cool that we won and this helps set a national precedent towards other similar lawsuits pending across the nation. But if the precedent is that a company worth hundreds of billions of dollars can get a little slap on the wrist for pushing addictive dope onto millions of people, we’ll never see any true justice.

As a reminder, Johnson & Johnson’s stock rose dramatically after the ruling, meaning Wall Street knew that if states like Oklahoma would kowtow, the risk of investing is worth it:

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15 Responses

  1. Your criticism of Judge Balkman is misplaced. I know him pretty well and I can attest to his smarts and dedication to the rule of law. Although the mistake is embarrassing, it’s not the end of the story by any measure.

    1. $107 million dollar mistake = “smarts”? Only in Oklahoma.

      1. Earning a law degree in Oklahoma is fairly simple. You basically just have to pay for it.
        Hence this math mistake.

        1. Yeah, why don’t you do that. Then, we’ll match yours against the one I got by attending 90 hours of class where your grade depended on 1 final exam. And the hundreds of hours of study I put in. Not to mention the thousands of $$ I spent on tuition, books, bar reviews, etc. And add to the mix a shitload of stress, etc. But obviously I went about it the wrong way; I should have just paid for it like you suggest and not done any of the work. What a stupid I am.

  2. God help us the dumbing down process has reached the Judiciary.

  3. I thought you hired lawyers to make sure the details are correct. I guess you don’t hire, appoint or elect judges for the same reason. Didn’t the clerk, or intern double check hiz honor?

    He was voted out of office before he could be term limited out, and then Mary Fallin gave him a golden parachute job, appointing him to a district judge gig in Cleveland county.

    Guess we know now why Oklahoma AG Hunter chose this judge to hear “the trial of the century”. Sometimes you have to just wait a bit to find out why things happen the way they do. We will see more things like this from other “lifers” appointed by politicians from Oklahoma’s one party system. If it were all Democrats instead of Republicans it would just be their idiots.

  4. J&J got off extremely light in the first place, and they’re still fighting it? Any sensible appeals judge would probably do ALL the math over – a whole lot differently, and NOT in J&J’s favor.

    The billed charges for treating ONE addicted baby would surely be more than $107,000. You can run up a bill like that if you go to the ER with a sore toe. $107 million sounded much more reasonable.

    I don’t know about the alleged math that was used here, but the new answer doesn’t pass the smell test. It stinks to high heaven! Maybe I’m an old cynic for believing that the fix is in, but… we do live in Oklahoma.

  5. It’s pathetic that people with terminal cancer are not getting the pain medication to relieve their suffering because some drug addict happens to illegally get medicine. I hope the Supreme Court tosses out the Oklahoma judges ruling and Johnson and Johnson prevails.

    1. Is this happening in the real world? I doubt it.

      1. https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/government-and-politics/patients-with-chronic-pain-rally-at-state-capitol-for-opioid/article_6057792a-03fe-56b6-afec-4682f614eed2.html

  6. This guy is a douche. You should add him on ypur top Oklahoma douche list. Seriously. He’s a joke. – Sincerely ,
    Someone who obviously knows him

  7. was a bad lawyer. now a bad judge

  8. Couldn’t wait to vote him out of house 45 seat.

  9. As a nurse, I can tell you right now that the amount this idiot decided on for opioid addicted babies (the 107K) ain’t gonna come CLOSE to helping all of the opioid addicted babies born out here. Not by a long shot.

  10. There are a growing number of medical providers who aren’t accepting new patients with terminal medical conditions. Doctors are scared to death to treat people who need opioids

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