One concerning issue in society today is the ability of large corporations, companies, or conglomerates to operate outside legal boundaries through superior legal representation. This problem is highlighted by the Sackler family’s attempt to “obtain legal immunity through Purdue’s bankruptcy” (ABC News). Purdue Pharmaceuticals is a large, multi-national corporation that is best known for creating and over-distributing OxyContin, a powerful painkiller that causes addiction issues. Yesterday, it was released that U.S. Trustee William Harrington urged a New York federal bankruptcy court to deny Purdue’s long-awaited plan as it does not go far enough to remedy damages.
Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2019 following an onslaught of lawsuits stemming from the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. Through their exit, they aim to provide 4.3 billion in state funding for responding to the opioid crisis in exchange for “a release from all liability from all persons” involved in the thousands of lawsuits thrown the company’s way.
The claims are that Purdue Pharma broke numerous laws pertaining to advertising their products and pushing them into the market, namely the drug OxyContin. The company already plead guilty to three felonies in regard to their attempt to mislead federal authorities about their corporate marketing actions. Though 29 state attorneys general have supported Purdue’s plan of giving more than 4 billion to state governments, the U.S. Trustee’s Office has raised concerns regarding the legality and ethicality of Purdue and the Sackler’s plan to exchange assets for innocence. As of now, 39 states have signed onto the Purdue plan in hopes of receiving large financial assistance for handling their local opioid crises.
Generally speaking, this case brings to the forefront the ability of large companies or corporations to cause harm and losses but escape accountability in situations that demand justice. Purdue Pharmaceuticals is just one company among a line of many who have caused major medical and other damages that are later let off far too easily.
Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterson represents clients in these kinds of cases and seeks justice for injured persons. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions.
Written by Iain Feeney and Austin Mehr
Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterson