Members of the Sackler family have told the New York bankruptcy court that they will pull back on the proposed $4.28 billion opioid settlement deal if the litigation injunction granted in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Purdue Pharma isn’t extended.
In the court filing, the entire family of Raymond Sackler, a descendant of one of the Sackler brothers, argued that without unconditional extension of the injunction, they would bolt out of the opioid settlement deal and resume their legal fight against liability claims leveled against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.
The court injunction, set to expire in April this year, has shielded member of the Sackler family from opioid litigation since the early days of the drugmaker’s bankruptcy case.
“If the injunction is lifted, the Sackler family will concentrate on litigating to defend itself against the lawsuits,” the family said in an official statement.
It further stated that the family’s participation in the opioid settlement process was borne out of a genuine interest in addressing the opioid crisis in a productive manner outside the litigation chaos that preceded the court hearings.
The Restructuring Plan
On March 16, the OxyContin maker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy which is part of its reorganization plan. The extensive opioid settlement plan requires the Sacklers to give up full ownership of Purdue Pharma and contribute approximately $4.28 billion to a trust that will address all opioid-related claims filed against the company and the family.
States, counties, cities, local governments, and Native American tribes have sued the drug manufacturer for fueling the opioid epidemic in the country, resulting in the death of over 500,000 Americans since 1999.
In the restructuring plan, the company will be owned by the abatement trust and entirely run for the public benefit. Instead of manufacturing opioid painkillers, it will shift focus and start manufacturing drugs that help fight opioid overdose and addiction.
The deal was a result of months of negotiation among the Sackler family, hundreds of county and municipal governments, and at least 25 consenting states. The mediation led to a $1.28 billion increase in Sackler’s contribution under Purdue Pharma’s original settlement proposal of $3 billion.
If you combine the proposed settlement with an early civil penalty the drugmaker had already paid to the U.S Department of Justice, the total amount contributed by members of the Sackler family come to about $4.5 billion.
Some States Have Objected to the Extension of the Injunction
However, several groups have strongly objected the extension of the injunction claiming that it is unfair to other non-debtor parties. A group of non-consenting attorney generals representing Maryland, California, Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Nevada, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Washington, Virginia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Wisconsin, Maine, Iowa, and Hawaii believe that the additional disclosures from the Sackler family about their assets would lead to a higher settlement contribution from them.
The other parties that have objected the extension of the injunction include a group only known as the “ad hoc committee on accountability” and another group of plaintiffs drawn from the Tennessee local government.
Purdue Pharma attorneys argue that the overall restructuring plan will lead to an overall opioid settlement deal worth over $10 billion. The resulting trusts will be required to distribute the funds to states, cities, and local governments for abatement programs.
Part of the settlement amount will also be distributed to private entities and individuals who have file opioid lawsuits against Purdue Pharma. The cash contribution from the Sackler family will be paid out over nine years.
The injunction has already been extended multiple times, and the current extension is set to expire on April 8, 2021. This will be in the midst of Purdue Pharma’s restructuring plan set to wrap up with an official confirmation by August, 2021.
The Sackler family insists that lifting the injunction will jeopardize its restructuring plan that enjoys incredible support from different creditor groups. A virtual hearing on the extension motion is planned to occur on April 8, 2021, at 10:00 am.
Legal representatives of both the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma declined to comment on the issue.
Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2019 after reaching a tentative opioid settlement deal with 24 states that had sued the company for its role in fueling the opioid epidemic.
Under the proposed deal, Purdue Pharma is set to be turned into a public trust, and all its profits channeled towards mitigating the effects of the opioid crisis. Part of the money will go towards funding programs that will help in ending the epidemic.
File an Opioid Lawsuit Today!
Have you or your loved one been affected by the opioid crisis and haven’t joined any lawsuit yet? You still have a chance to file a lawsuit and be part of the opioid settlement deal. Talk to an experienced opioid attorney today to find out your options.