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Press Releases

Attorney General William Tong

07/19/2021

Attorney General Tong Objects to Purdue Bankruptcy Plan With Legal Shield For Sackler Family

States argue that a bankruptcy court doesn’t have the authority to prevent attorneys general from suing Sackler family

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong joined eight other attorneys general today filing formal objections to an inadequate and insufficient Purdue bankruptcy plan that would grant a lifetime legal shield to the Sackler family. Attorney General Tong and the states argue that a bankruptcy court does not have the authority to prevent attorneys general from enforcing state law, including pursuing the Sacklers for their illegal conduct in driving the opioid epidemic.

“Connecticut will not sit on the sidelines while the Sacklers raid their own charity funds and walk away with their personal wealth intact. This plan represents an unprecedented legal maneuver to try to force states to give up our strong claims against the Sacklers. This plan is a far cry from justice, and we will not give up our fight for justice and accountability,” said Attorney General Tong.

In addition to Connecticut, Washington, California, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia also filed or joined formal objections today. Click here for Connecticut's filing.

Purdue’s proposed bankruptcy plan would require the Sackler family to pay $4.3 billion over nine years to the group of states, municipalities and private plaintiffs that sued the company in 2017. The states’ objections, filed today in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York as part of Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings, asserts $4.3 billion is miniscule in context: The Sackler family made at least $11 billion in profits from producing and deceptively marketing OxyContin, a major driver in the rise of the opioid crisis and, importantly, the Sacker family is not bankrupt or even claiming bankruptcy. The crisis has cost the nation millions of lives and more than $2 trillion in damage.

As noted in a recently published New York Times editorial, the Sacklers will continue to earn interest on their $4.3 billion as the settlement is paid out over nine years. By the time they are finished paying this settlement, the Sacklers will be wealthier than they were when they started.

In addition, Purdue’s bankruptcy plan would release the Sacklers for life from all liability, meaning that the states would be permanently barred from bringing consumer protection lawsuits against the Sacklers. The objection asserts that a bankruptcy court judge does not have the authority to take away a state attorney general’s power to enforce consumer protection laws.

The states’ objections argue the Sacklers should not be handed a federal injunction shielding the lion’s share of their multi-billion-dollar fortune in exchange for payments that cover less than one percent of the damage they caused.

The hearing on the bankruptcy plan is set to begin on August 9. The judge will decide whether or not to approve the plan shortly after.
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Media Contact:

Elizabeth Benton
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