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Johnson & Johnson Loses Huge Opioid Lawsuit; Tropical Storm Dorian Strengthening in Caribbean; Brazil To Reject $20 Million Aid Offer From G7. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 27, 2019 - 05:30   ET



[05:31:29] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUNTER, OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Johnson & Johnson, motivated by greed and avarice, is responsible for the opioid epidemic in our state.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A groundbreaking decision on opioids could cost the pharmaceutical industry billions.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Watches and warnings upgraded ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian. A state of emergency as the storm churns toward Puerto Rico.


TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Singing "You Need to Calm Down."


ROMANS: And, Taylor Swift wins big at the VMAs, but her biggest message had nothing to do with music.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: It harkens back to those days with Kanye there at the VMAs. Remember that?


BRIGGS: Good morning, everyone. I'm Dave Briggs. Good have you back, Christine Romans.

ROMANS: It's nice to be back, refreshed.

BRIGGS: Five thirty-two Eastern time.

We start with the opioid crisis and a game-changing court ruling in the crisis, the epidemic that has killed more than 400,000 people over the last 20 years. A judge in Oklahoma holding Johnson & Johnson responsible for fueling the state's opioid epidemic. The court ruled the drugmaker must pay $572 million in damages.


HUNTER: Johnson & Johnson, motivated by greed and avarice, is responsible for the opioid epidemic in our state.


ROMANS: It's the first time a court has held a pharmaceutical company accountable for the opioid crisis and an ominous sign for opioid makers and distributors targeted in an enormous national lawsuit set to start trial in Ohio in October.


JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL EXPERT: There are thousands of lawsuits that are still pending, there are thousands of governments that have sued, there's still lots of liability to come. And you have to remember, this is over half a billion dollars.

And, Oklahoma's a fairly small state in terms of population, so when you look at all of the other states that have sued, all the other localities that have sued, you're talking about billions and billions of dollars that likely are going to be found that the pharmaceutical companies will have to pay.


ROMANS: CNN's Alexandra Field has more from the courthouse in Norman, Oklahoma.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave, Christine, this is, indeed, a historic ruling.

Oklahoma is the first state to bring to trial a pharmaceutical company, alleging that Johnson & Johnson fueled the opioid crisis in this state through misleading marketing of its prescription drugs.

The judge has decided that Johnson & Johnson must pay the state $572 million that will go toward programs to prevent and treat opioid addiction. He affirmed the state's position that Johnson & Johnson has created a public nuisance through its misleading marketing of two drugs, costing the state billions of dollars and devastating thousands of lives.

One Oklahoma man who testified during the 8-week trial about the loss of his son to an opioid overdose says the ruling is about long-sought accountability.

This is a case that will be studied throughout the country. There are dozens of other states that would like to do what Oklahoma has now done. And, this fall, there will be a federal trial involving a couple of thousand claims from various cities, counties, and municipalities, all of which want to see pharmaceutical companies held responsible for contributing to the opioid epidemic.

For its part, Johnson & Johnson says they plan to appeal the ruling immediately. They say that their painkillers are needed for pain management and treatment.

They say they have followed all state and federal laws. They believe there are a number of grounds on which they can appeal, and they insist that they have been made a scapegoat in what is a larger social problem -- Dave, Christine.


[05:35:08] BRIGGS: Alex, thanks.

The judge did not give the state of Oklahoma everything it wanted. The request was for $17.5 billion over 30 years to pay for treatment, medical education, overdose prevention, and law enforcement. But the judge ordered only $572 million for the first year, ruling the state did not provide sufficient evidence -- more was needed.

Johnson & Johnson's stock, though, up as much as five percent since the company was ordered to pay far less than investors expected.

ROMANS: All right, a major threat looming in the Caribbean from Tropical Storm Dorian. The National Hurricane Center now upgrading to a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico. The island's governor has issued a state of emergency.

Dorian is strengthening, moving toward the Windward Islands right now, and it could become a hurricane as it nears Puerto Rico, churning toward the U.S. this weekend.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest from the Weather Center.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, Dave and Christine.

Tropical Storm Dorian here, a very compact storm that is going to be impacting portions of St. Lucia, Martinique, and eventually, of course, on approach towards areas around Puerto Rico and potentially, the island of Hispaniola.

And because it's such a compact system, any sort of interaction, whether it be with a small island or a larger one in its path, really plays a role to what is left of this storm and what its eventual impact could be farther down the line.

So at this point, we do have tropical storm watches in place from Puerto Rico towards the U.S. Virgin Island, St. Kitts, and also Nevis. And farther towards the south, we do have tropical storm warnings in place with winds there approaching 45 to 65 miles per hour but, of course, stronger gusts over the next couple of days.

And a brief window in place here over the next 36 hours for this to potentially get up to a category one. Beyond that, of course, larger islands in its path that could disrupt the flow of the storm system. There's also additional wind shear, but a little bit of dry air to deal with as well.

So, a lot of rain going to be the story at this point and we're going to watch this as we approach this weekend -- guys.


BRIGGS: OK, Pedram, thanks.

Breaking overnight, Brazil plans to reject $20 million in aid offered by G7 leaders to help fight the raging wildfires in the Amazon. The chief of staff to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tells a Brazilian newspaper they are thankful, but the money would be better served to help reforest Europe.

He also took a shot at French President Emmanuel Macron, saying he couldn't prevent the disastrous fire at Notre Dame Cathedral and he has plenty to deal with back in France.

Bolsonaro, himself, drawing the ire of Macron for much different reasons.

Nick Paton Walsh on the ground in Brazil.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Bolsonaro seemed to take a break from engaging in what seemed to be a spat on social media with the French president, Emmanuel Macron. He'd commented on an offensive meme about the French president's wife, which caused the French president to talk about how he hoped Brazil eventually would have a president that lives up to the job.

But, President Bolsonaro, in terms of that suggestion of $20 million, didn't seem that receptive. He talked about how it was down to Brazil to resist such colonial attitudes and it wasn't down for the French president to really tell him what to do. And they engaged in a very lengthy tirade against the media here.

There's a lot of information more happening about how serious this problem is. Independent scientists, like NASA, who have got their ax to grind with Brazil are clear this is bad and it's nearly twice as bad in terms of fires so far this year than last year.

But does Brazil, itself, have the will -- does it have the resources to start tackling the fires on the scale that we saw just two days ago? It is startling to see that. And here, we occasionally see the cargo planes in the sky that seem to be on their way to tackle things.

But, Brazil thinks it can deal with it by itself. It's allowed Israeli help in, possibly soon, but it's unclear if it will allow the international community's outrage to influence who it allows in to assist with this massive firefighting operation here.

The fires are continuing to burn. International condemnation -- will it persist and will the pressure persist after the G7 now that it's over? We'll have to wait and see. The fires aren't stopping though -- Dave, Christine.


ROMANS: The lungs of the world. All right. Thanks for that, Nick Paton Walsh.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg making her first public appearance just days after completing weeks of radiation treatment for her latest bout with cancer.

The 86-year-old receiving an honorary law degree from the University of Buffalo on Monday. She was invited there last year by longtime friend Wayne Wisbaum, who died in December.


RUTH BADER GINSBURG, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I promised him I would come, I didn't know that this day would be preceded by three weeks of daily radiation. But I said I will not cancel Buffalo.


ROMANS: Ginsburg also talked about advice she received from Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she underwent cancer treatment in 1999. She told Ginsburg, "Schedule the chemotherapy for Friday. That way you get over it on the weekend."

[05:40:08] BRIGGS: Capital One and Deutsche Bank have until 4:00 this afternoon to reveal whether they have President Trump's tax returns. On Friday, attorneys for both banks refused to tell an appellate court whether they have the returns, citing contractual and statutory obligations.

The new court order calls for a yes or no answer by 4:00 p.m. or a more detailed explanation why they cannot give one.

President Trump appealing to a lower court decision not to block congressional subpoenas seeking access to his financial records.

ROMANS: All right. A compromise between the U.S. and France on a new French digital tax resolving a trade conflict between the two.

Here's the deal. France will repay companies the difference between its digital tax and whatever taxes come from a plan now being developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- the OECD. Now, tech companies have argued this French tax would unfairly target American companies.

Last week, Amazon said it will pass the tax along to its third-party sellers, starting October first. Amazon, Google, and Facebook did not respond to respect for comment.

BRIGGS: What's more dangerous, Twitter parody accounts or guns? The latter if you listen to the attorney for Congressman Devin Nunes.

Earlier this year, the conservative Republican filed a quarter- billion-dollar lawsuit against Twitter, anti-Trump GOP strategist Liz Mair, and the anonymous tweeters behind the accounts @DevinCow and @DevinNunesMom.

A claim about guns came at a hearing over the lawsuit, which claims the parody accounts are involved in a quote, "orchestrated defamation campaign."

Twitter asked the judge to dismiss the suit, claiming the company has no business dealings in Virginia where it was filed.

All right. An early Christmas for fans of "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE." We'll tell you which "SNL" legend has been tapped to host the annual holiday show.


[05:46:11] ROMANS: All right. Breaking overnight, two children killed in Dayton, Ohio in a bizarre incident involving a stolen police cruiser.

Officers were responding to a stabbing call last night, shortly after 7:00 p.m. Now, the suspect had fled and police say moments later crashed into a tree. The suspect then stole a responding police officer's cruiser and fled again, crashing into several cars outside the Dayton Public Library.


LT. COL. ERIC HENDERSON, ASSISTANT CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, DAYTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, DAYTON, OHIO: There were at least 11 removals from those other two vehicles to several different hospitals.


BRIGGS: Seven of those victims were children; two later died. The suspect is in custody. Two police officers suffered minor injuries.

All of this coming less than a month after a mass shooting in Dayton killed nine people.

Indonesia is planning to move its capital to the sparsely-populated island of Borneo because its current capital is sinking. Forty percent of Jakarta's population, almost 10 million people, now below sea level. Some areas reportedly sinking as much as seven to eight inches per year thanks to pumping too much groundwater and the climate crisis.

If Parliament approves the $33 billion plan, construction on the new capital in Borneo would begin next year with the move happening in 2024. The majority of residents in the commercial and financial hub would stay put in the sinking city.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

Taking a look around the world, Asian stock markets stabilized. European markets have opened lower and then, have now nudged up a little bit.

Look, August has been unpredictable, wildly swinging on the state of play in the trade war with China and on recession fears because of it. Markets rebounded Monday on trade optimism, but trade signals have been muddled and contradictory.

The president, Friday, called the Chinese president an enemy. Yesterday, he called him a brilliant man and a great leader. The message is incoherent.

The Dow closed up some 270 points yesterday, recovering about a third of Friday's huge losses. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both finished up about one percent.

The S&P 500, for the record now, up 14 percent this year. August has been rough, though. It's five percent off its high.

All right, Lyft shares got a lift. Its stock closed up 4.3 percent Monday after analysts at Guggenheim Partners said it should turn a profit by 2021, two years earlier than expected. The reason, Lyft has raised prices.

The Guggenheim call eased some fears investors have had about Lyft since its public debut in March. Lyft's CFO said it increased prices on routes in some cities back in June. Didn't say how much or where.

Guggenheim's analysts said they don't expect demand to suffer from those price increases.

All right, there is no stopping this fake meat craze. Beyond Meat's latest creation, Beyond Fried Chicken, is making its way to one KFC in Atlanta this week, the first fast-food restaurant to test plant-based chicken. Customers have two choices, nuggets or boneless wings.

KFC says it may not be chicken but it's still finger-licking good.

Want to try it?

BRIGGS: I'll take the wings and a little Buffalo sauce. Dial that up.

ROMANS: You're making me hungry at 5:49 a.m. in the East. We'll be right back.


[05:53:48] BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, a line of severe storms moving across Central Oklahoma. Power outages now reaching 95,000 customers. There is damage reported in parts of Oklahoma City's metro area with

strong winds bringing down trees and power lines. Also reports some structures and homes have been damaged, and streets flooded by the heavy rain.

ROMANS: All right.

Four Florida nursing home employees are facing charges in the deaths of 12 residents who were exposed to extreme heat in the wake of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Jorge Carballo, the former administrator and CEO at the Hollywood rehab center, and three nurses were arrested Monday.

Elderly residents of the home suffered in the heat for days after the facility lost power and air conditioning when Irma hit.

Family members expressing some relief.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happy for what's going on and the work the police has done. And we finally have some arrests and this is just the beginning.

PEDRO FRANCO, PARENTS DIED AT FLORIDA NURSING HOME: Almost two years of, you know, waiting for something to happen. Justice is all we want.


ROMANS: Attorneys for the accused insist they did all they could under trying circumstances. The incident has led to new emergency requirements for the state's nursing homes.

[05:55:00] BRIGGS: Police are looking for the driver who plowed through a crowd in downtown Denver.


Car running into crowd.


BRIGGS: Two people were slightly injured. Police have identified a suspect and say other people were in the car. It happened early Sunday as people spilled out of the entertainment venues in the lower downtown district.

Before the crowd -- the car spread into the crowd, a group of people were trying to pry open the car door. Not clear what led to that incident.

ROMANS: All right, a multi-million-dollar jewelry heist in New York City. Police looking for three suspects who robbed a jewelry store of $4 million worth of merchandise Sunday. Officials say the thieves posed as customers, then forced four

employees into a back room. The robbers zip-tied and duct-taped the workers, then ransacked the store. No one was seriously injured.

A New York Uber driver charged with kidnapping and threatening to sexually assault a 15-year-old girl. Prosecutors say 32-year-old Sean Williams was driving the girl home from a Sweet Sixteen party on Long Island last month when he canceled her route and headed in a different direction.

The Nassau County D.A. says Williams tried to get the girl to go drinking with him, then attempted to bring her back to his home in Brooklyn. She eventually convinced him to pull over at a McDonald's so she could use the bathroom and once inside, she called police.

BRIGGS: Two famous female role models, Rosa Parks and Sally Ride, honored with their very own Barbie dolls. Mattel, on Monday, revealing the additions to its Barbie Inspiring Women Series. The announcement comes on Women's Equality Day.

Rosa Parks is known as the mother of the modern civil rights movement. Sally Ride, the first female American astronaut and the youngest to fly in space.

Each doll comes with educational materials about their contributions to society, along with authentic clothing and unique accessories.

A legendary "SNL" cast member coming home after 35 years.


EDDIE MURPHY, COMEDIAN: There are lots of things you can sell on the streets. All you have to do is be an entrepreneur. That's our word for the day, boys and girls. (Sign saying "Ontapanure").


BRIGGS: Eddie Murphy will return to host the Christmas episode of "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" on December 21st. It will be Murphy's first appearance on the show since he left in 1984.

"SNL" season 45 kicks off September 28th with Woody Harrelson as host and Billie Eilish as the musical guest. Two first-time hosts will follow -- "FLEABAG's" Phoebe Waller-Bridge with Taylor Swift performing, and "STRANGER THINGS" David Harbour with singer Camila Cabello.

ROMANS: All right. If you're eager to find out who won big at last night's MTV VMAs, you need to calm down.


SWIFT: Singing "You Need to Calm Down."


ROMAN: Taylor Swift winning her second Video of the Year "Moon Man" for her equality anthem, "You Need to Calm Down."

But, Swift was pretty fired up about why the White House has not acknowledged her Equality Act petition for LGBTQ rights, which was launched with that single.


SWIFT: Under this video, there was a petition and there still is a petition for the Equality Act, which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law. It now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House.


ROMANS: The White House has yet to comment directly to Swift. Now, the House did pass the Equality Act in May but the White House opposed it.

All right, 58 minutes past the hour. Thanks for joining us this Tuesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Here's "NEW DAY."


HUNTER: Johnson & Johnson, motivated by greed and avarice, is responsible for the opioid epidemic in our state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A landmark decision and success for the state of Oklahoma.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: For a long time, these drugs companies have been saying we weren't to blame here and this ruling suggests that that's not the case.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From the moment we got here we've been treated beautifully.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Throughout this G7 summit, the president and his team have offered conflicting and false statements on a whole range of topics.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): He continues to diminish U.S. credibility by his erratic and unpredictable behaviors.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, August 27th, 6:00 here in New York.

And we begin with a landmark legal judgment in the opioid crisis. A judge in Oklahoma ordering pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for its role in fueling the opioid crisis that has ravaged that state, leading to thousands of deaths.

This is the first time a judge has held a drug maker culpable for the impact of.