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Last week, Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman ruled drugmaker Johnson & Johnson helped cause the opioid crisis in the Sooner sta…

Johnson & Johnson announced shortly after Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman read his decision that the company will appeal the ruling and ask an appellate court to put Balkman’s order on hold while the case plays out.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said there is no question Monday was a “day of reckoning” for pharmaceutical companies that helped accelerate the spread of dangerous opioids across the country.

After seven weeks of testimony, both sides announced Friday they were finished calling witnesses in the ongoing trial against a top opioid manufacturer.

NORMAN — When you ask for a story about Thad Balkman, his friends will immediately laugh and tell you about his bedroom’s brief brush with stardom.

He’s the Cleveland County judge who will decide single-handedly how much, if any, blame opioid manufacturer Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiaries bear for Oklahoma’s addiction epidemic.