How the Sacklers’ opioid lawsuit might rip-off the chapter system | Boing Boing

How the Sacklers' opioid lawsuit could scam the bankruptcy system | Boing Boing

Opioids helped kill pals of mine. Much more irritating is that this isn’t significantly distinctive or attention-grabbing. In line with the US Department of Health and Human Services:

Greater than 760,000 individuals have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Two out of three drug overdose deaths in 2018 concerned an opioid.

A lot of that has been allegedly enabled by the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma and made almost $11 billion {dollars} peddling OxyContin. In October 2020, the Sacklers reached a settlement settlement with the US Division of Justice, after beforehand submitting for chapter in 2019. As NPR studies:

As a part of chapter talks, they’ve supplied to surrender management of the corporate and pay roughly $4.2 billion.

In trade, below the present deal on the desk, the Sacklers would preserve a lot of their wealth, admit no wrongdoing and be sheltered from future opioid lawsuits.

Once more: they made almost $11 billion, and can probably be compelled to pay lower than half of that as punishment. Because it stands, a whole lot of households have filed lawsuits towards the Sackler household for his or her position within the opioid epidemic. And all of these circumstances could be thrown out, if the court docket agrees to their proposal.

However as The American Prospect explains, it really will get worse. As a result of the identical legal responsibility launch proposed by the corporate would, if authorised, prolong to the Sackler household’s private property as effectively. By defending the household from particular person lawsuits, the courts might probably permit the household to fold in all of their private property into the chapter submitting below the guise of firm property:

A legal responsibility launch for the person Sacklers forcibly converts the rights of victims to hunt redress for private misconduct by the individuals who owned Purdue right into a sort of property of Purdue. Property that Purdue can get rid of any approach it needs as a part of its chapter—if the decide agrees.


A chapter decide would not have the ability to rule on the deserves of lawsuits by victims, like these alleging wrongs by the Sackler members of the family. That’s the work of Article III judges.

However with a legal responsibility launch just like the Sackler members of the family are looking for, the chapter decide in impact is ruling on these lawsuits—by extinguishing them. So, he is claiming the ability of an Article III decide, though he isn’t one.

And he’s claiming it over individuals like Jenny Scully, a mom whose six-year-old daughter was born hooked on OxyContin and different opioids docs prescribed her earlier than and through her being pregnant. Scully’s swimsuit naming the Sackler members of the family speaks to their private legal responsibility, to not the supply of the decide’s energy: the chapter property of Purdue.


It leaves the Sackler members of the family with unknown billions of {dollars}—unknown as a result of the person Sacklers are usually not in chapter—now protected against any future lawsuits, or civil investigations, over the opioid epidemic that helped make their fortune.

The American Prospect will get into extra element about how this proposed settlement might work, if accepted by the courts. And it’s way more egregious than paying $4.8 billion on an almost $11 billion revenue that killed a whole lot of hundreds of individuals.

The Sackler Family’s Bankruptcy Scheme [Libby Lewis / The American Prospect]

Judge Blocks Lawsuits Against Sackler Family As OxyContin Bankruptcy Talks Continue [Brian Mann / NPR]

Purdue Pharma Offers Plan to End Sackler Control and Mounting Lawsuits [Jan Hoffman and Mary Williams Walsh / New York Times]

Picture: Psiĥedelisto / Wikimedia Commons (Public Area)

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