Retired Oklahoma judge to mediate opioid settlement funds

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — A former Oklahoma State Supreme Court justice will attempt to resolve a dispute over how to disburse an $85 million settlement of a state lawsuit with Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Cleveland Count District Judge Thad Balkman said Monday that retired Judge Steven Taylor will serve as special master to help find a way to handle the funds arising from a lawsuit that accused drug companies of contributing to the opioid epidemic.

Gov. Kevin Stitt, lawmakers and cities say the May 26 settlement conflicts with a law directing any settlement funds into the state treasury. The law was passed after lawmakers grumbled about how state Attorney General Mike Hunter structured a $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma in the lawsuit.

Oklahoma's lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over the opioid epidemic is continuing.