Your Must-See News Headlines for Today, August 27

Opioid crisis


A major corporation is found guilty of fueling the opioid crisis. More on the state judge’s ruling below and what it might mean for future cases.

Music fans woke up to the news of the sudden passing of acclaimed guitarist Neal Casal.

And on a lighter note, Kentucky Fried Chicken is touting a limited test of a plant-based chicken nugget.

Here’s what you need to know in the daily roundup.

TOP STORY: Johnson & Johnson Held Responsible For Opioid Crisis in Oklahoma

History was made in an Oklahoma courtroom yesterday. The case against Johnson & Johnson marked the first time that a major drug manufacturer went to trial to face accusations related to the opioid crisis. And the corporation lost.

The state of Oklahoma had sued Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, alleging that the company had aggressively marketed painkillers to consumers and downplayed the risk of addiction. The Oklahoma Attorney General originally asked for $17 billion in damages.

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman ruled on the side of the state. But he decreased the ordered payment to $572 million in damages. Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson referred to the ruling as “flawed” and plan to appeal.

Oklahoma’s legal win could help to shape future lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. For example, a separate case called the National Prescription Opiate Litigation will soon go before a federal judge in Ohio. Johnson & Johnson is one of 22 defendants listed in that upcoming litigation.


The music world woke up this morning to the news that guitarist Neal Casal passed away last night at the age of 50. No cause of death was given. A message was shared to his official Twitter account just before 6:30 a.m. today.

“It’s with great sadness that we tell you Neal Casal has passed. As so many know, Neal was a gentle, soulful human who lived life through artistry & kindness. His family, friends & fans will always remember the light that he brought to the world. Rest easy Neal, we love you.”

Casal was best known for playing with Circles Around the Sun and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. He was on stage just two days before his death. Casal played at the LOCKN’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia, on August 24. Click here for more on Casal’s career and to follow updates as more information becomes available.

OFF-BEAT: KFC Is Testing Meatless Chicken

The plant-based craze has reached Kentucky Fried Chicken. The restaurant has partnered with Beyond Meat to create a plant-based chicken that is being offered as a nugget or boneless wing.

KFC U.S. President Kevin Hochman says customers will be hard-pressed to notice the difference between the regular chicken and the plant-based version. “I think we’ve all heard ‘it tastes like chicken’ – well our customers are going to be amazed and say, ‘it tastes like Kentucky Fried Chicken!'”

The item, called “Beyond Fried Chicken,” is being tested today at one location in the city of Smyrna, Georgia, near Atlanta. Customers in the area can drop by for a free sample until 6:30 p.m. The address is 2637 Cobb Pkwy South East in Smyrna.


  • Tropical Storm Dorian could pass near Puerto Rico as a strong tropical storm or hurricane on Wednesday.
  • Sean Duffy, the Wisconsin Republican Congressman who once starred on the Real World, is resigning. The reason was to focus on family; he and wife Rachel Campos-Duffy are expecting their 9th child.
  • New York City sex worker Angelina Barini is facing drug charges in connection to the deaths of 3 clients, including Italian chef Andrea Zamperoni.
  • Isabel Toledo, the fashion designer who designed Michelle Obama’s first Inauguration dress, has passed away from breast cancer.
  • Gamers excited for the launch of World of Warcraft Classic had to deal with hours-long wait times in order to even begin playing the game.


SpaceX is going to try again today to test-launch its Starhopper rocket. The craft is part of a larger machine that is designed to one day carry humans to Mars and the moon.

The launch had been planned for late afternoon on Monday. After several delays, the test appeared to be imminent. The countdown actually reached its final second before the mission was abruptly aborted. Elon Musk explained in a tweet, “Igniters need to be inspected. We will try again tomorrow same time.”

SpaceX will try again today beginning at 5 p.m. ET. SpaceX is streaming a live view of the rocket on YouTube, which is embedded above.

Missed Yesterday’s Roundup? Click here.

Read More