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Billion-Dollar J&J Verdict Winner Now Leads Charge in Opioids Suit

  • First federal trial may be benchmark for thousands of lawsuits
  • Companies making settlement offers in bid to end all claims

Photographer: David Hartley/Getty Images

Mark Lanier used a block of cheese and a hay bale as props in a St. Louis courtroom last year to make his case that Johnson & Johnson baby powder causes cancer. It worked. Jurors ordered J&J to pay $4.7 billion in damages.

The verdict was the third multibillion-dollar award for Lanier, the Texas-based lawyer now leading the attack for two Ohio counties against a group of drug companies, including McKesson Corp. and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Inc., in the first federal trial of more than 2,000 state and local government lawsuits over the U.S. opioid epidemic. Opening arguments start Monday.