U.S. District Judge
Purdue Pharma said in a statement that it will appeal. In the meantime, it’s a victory for a handful of state attorneys general and an arm of the U.S. Justice Department, which have been working to overturn the settlement.
Attorneys general from states including Washington, Connecticut and Maryland want to block the deal so they can keep suing Purdue’s owners, members of the billionaire Sackler family, over their role in the opioid crisis. The settlement would prevent that, giving Purdue’s owners broad legal protections from opioid-related civil lawsuits. McMahon said the drugmaker’s bankruptcy judge erred in granting those releases.
U.S. Attorney General
“The bankruptcy court did not have the authority to deprive victims of the opioid crisis of their right to sue the Sackler family,” Garland said in a statement.
California’s Attorney General
“The Sackler Family must be held accountable for their contribution to the ongoing opioid crisis,” Bonta said in a statement. “The bankruptcy plan would have allowed them to exchange money for lifetime immunity -- falling far short of true accountability,”
The settlement would route billions of dollars to opioid abatement efforts and see Purdue’s assets turned over to the states, cities and counties suing over its role in the crisis. Members of the Sackler family have agreed to contribute more than $4 billion to the deal and leave the opioid business entirely.
The judge’s ruling “will delay, and perhaps end, the ability of creditors, communities, and individuals to receive billions in value to abate the opioid crisis,” said Steve Miller, chairman of the Purdue Pharma Board of Directors.
New York Attorney General
“We will get justice for the American people,” James said in a statement.
In her ruling, McMahon said the bankruptcy court lacked authority to grant the kind of
“This issue has hovered over bankruptcy law for thirty-five years,” McMahon said in her written ruling. “It must be put to rest sometime; at least in this Circuit, it should be put to rest now.”
In September, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
During the appeal, McMahon
Representatives for members of the Sackler family didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.
(Updates with comments from Purdue, U.S. Attorney General)
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