UNITED STATES NEWS

Supreme Court blocks, for now, OxyContin maker bankruptcy deal that would shield Sacklers

Aug 10, 2023, 12:41 PM | Updated: 1:52 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily blocked a nationwide settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma that would shield members of the Sackler family who own the company from civil lawsuits over the toll of opioids.

The justices agreed to a request from the Biden administration to put the brakes on an agreement reached last year with state and local governments. In addition, the high court will hear arguments before the end of the year over whether the settlement can proceed.

The deal would allow the company to emerge from bankruptcy as a different entity, with its profits used to fight the opioid epidemic. Members of the Sackler family would contribute up to $6 billion.

But a key component of the agreement would shield family members, who are not seeking bankruptcy protection as individuals, from lawsuits.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee, represented by the Justice Department, opposes releasing the Sackler family from legal liability.

The justices directed the parties to address whether bankruptcy law authorizes a blanket shield from lawsuits filed by all opioid victims.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had allowed the reorganization plan to proceed.

Lawyers for Purdue and other parties to the agreement had urged the justices to stay out of the case.

“We are confident in the legality of our nearly universally supported Plan of Reorganization, and optimistic that the Supreme Court will agree,” the company said in a statement following the court’s action Thursday. “Even so, we are disappointed that the U.S. Trustee, despite having no concrete interest in the outcome of this process, has been able to single-handedly delay billions of dollars in value that should be put to use for victim compensation, opioid crisis abatement for communities across the country, and overdose rescue medicines.”

Ed Neiger, a lawyer representing individual victims of the opioid crisis who would be in line for a piece of the settlement, said it was a disappointment that they would have to wait longer for any compensation but also praised the court for agreeing to hear the case so soon. “They clearly see the urgency of the matter,” he said.

Another group of mostly parents of people who died from opioid overdoses has called for the settlement not to be accepted.

Opioids have been linked to more than 70,000 fatal overdoses annually in the U.S. in recent years. Most of those are from fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. But the crisis widened in the early 2000s as OxyContin and other powerful prescription painkillers became prevalent.

___

Associated Press writer Geoff Mulvihill contributed to this report from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

United States News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump reacts after speaking at a campaign...

Associated Press

Trump expected to turn his full focus on Harris at first rally since Biden’s exit from 2024 race

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Donald Trump is holding his first public campaign rally since President Joe Biden dropped out of a 2024 matchup that both major parties had spent months preparing for, leaving the former president to direct his ire toward his likely new opponent, Vice President Kamala Harris. Trump is expected to turn his […]

2 hours ago

A runner and their pacer run as the sun rises behind them on California Route 190 during the Badwat...

Associated Press

Runners set off on the annual Death Valley ultramarathon billed as the world’s toughest foot race

DEATH VALLEY NATOINAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — During a rainstorm that partially obscured the light of a a nearly full moon, 97 runners pushed off in desolate Death Valley with the launch of a 48-hour annual ultramarathon billed as the world’s toughest foot race — the Badwater 135. After starting late Monday night, the men […]

2 hours ago

FILE - FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee o...

Associated Press

FBI chief to face questions over Trump assassination attempt as he returns to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to testify Wednesday about the bureau’s investigation into the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, with lawmakers at a congressional hearing likely to press him for fresh details about the gunman’s motive and background. The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee will represent Wray’s most […]

2 hours ago

President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One as he arrives Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Ju...

Associated Press

Biden will make a case for his legacy – and for Harris to continue it – in his Oval Office address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even though President Joe Biden won’t be on the ballot this November, voters still will be weighing his legacy. As Vice President Kamala Harris moves to take his place as the Democratic standard-bearer, Biden’s accomplishments remain very much at risk should Republican Donald Trump prevail. How Biden’s single term — and his […]

2 hours ago

Former U.S. Army medical technician Louis M. Gigliotti tours the Alaska Veterans Museum following h...

Associated Press

An Alaska veteran is finally getting his benefits — 78 years after the 103-year-old was discharged

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 103-year-old World War II veteran who’s been paying his medical bills out-of-pocket is finally getting his veterans benefits from the U.S. government after 78 years. Louis Gigliotti’s caretaker says the former U.S. Army medical technician has a card from the Veteran Administration but he never realized he could use his […]

2 hours ago

Vice President Kamala Harris campaigns for President as the presumptive Democratic candidate during...

Associated Press

Democrats hope Harris’ bluntness on abortion will translate to 2024 wins in Congress, White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden might not often use the word “abortion” when he talks about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but Vice President Kamala Harris sure does. She’s also toured a Planned Parenthood clinic where the procedure is performed, and routinely links the fall of Roe to the larger issue of rising […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Supreme Court blocks, for now, OxyContin maker bankruptcy deal that would shield Sacklers