Sackler Family Opioid Settlement: Supreme Court Ruling on Liability Protections

The Supreme Court will examine the Biden administration’s objection to Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy reorganization on Monday, which includes a provision that shields the Sackler family from liability in future lawsuits. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill bankruptcy case, with its reach being tied to the nationwide harm from the opioid crisis and the role that Purdue, a Sackler-owned company, played in creating it. The Sackler family has committed to paying roughly $6 billion as part of the proposed deal, which the Supreme Court halted in August. This payment could be used to settle opioid-related claims but with the condition that the family is released from future liabilities. The reorganized company, along with assets held by Purdue, is anticipated to be worth considerably more. It’s expected to focus on addressing the impact of opioid abuse, especially given that no Sackler family member has been involved in the company since 2019.

During oral arguments, the justices will focus on whether the bankruptcy court had the authority to release the Sackler family from claims made by opioid victims. Purdue’s role in fueling the opioid epidemic with OxyContin, a widely available painkiller, has been heavily scrutinized. Despite Purdue seeking bankruptcy protection, the Sackler family opted for a separate deal that allows the company to revamp itself and deal with the crisis. The Biden administration opposes the release of further claims against the Sacklers, claiming that it would be unfair to future plaintiffs.

A New York-based court previously approved the plan with Purdue criticizing the role of the U.S. government trustee monitoring the bankruptcy. However, groups representing thousands of plaintiffs have backed the settlement. Various groups representing plaintiffs, including Canadian municipalities and Indigenous First Nations, objected to the settlement. The Sackler family continues to support the settlement, warning of significant litigation costs and risks if the settlement were thrown out. For more details, you can visit the original article on


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