Arizona has backed out of a major settlement with Purdue Pharma because, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said, the OxyContin maker is not acting in good faith by attempting to undermine the terms of the deal at nearly every turn.
Arizona joins 24 states and the District of Columbia in opposing the deal, which would have resolved about 2,000 lawsuits brought by states, local municipalities, and tribes holding opioid makers accountable for creating and fueling a national opioid epidemic. Brnovich said the state’s case against Purdue and the billionaire family that owns the company will move forward.
In September, Purdue and the Sacklers announced that they would work to resolve most of the lawsuits against it by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As part of the bankruptcy deal, the Sacklers would give up ownership of Prudue and the company would dissolve into a public beneficiary trust, which would still manufacture OxyContin but proceeds would be turned over to plaintiffs. Purdue would also provide free access to its overdose antidotes and addiction treatments, many of which are currently under development. The Sacklers would also pay $3 billion from their own fortune. The deal is estimated to be valued at between $10 billion to $12 billion.
Twenty-five of the attorneys general who opted out of the settlement formed an ad hoc committee, which recently opposed Purdue’s motion to pay Purdue workers up to $38 million in bonuses. Arizona filed a joinder to the objection.
Arizona, in its joinder, argued, “The employees who were responsible for or directly involved in the wrongdoing should not be rewarded with bonuses, whether styled as annual incentive plans, sign-on bonuses or severance payments … Before allocating tens of millions of dollars of estate funds that could otherwise be used to ameliorate the ravages of the opioid epidemic, debtors owe this diligence to the creditors who have suffered at their hands.”
Beasley Allen has an Opioid Litigation Team that includes these lawyers: Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Ryan Kral, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton, Roger Smith and Jeff Price. This team represents the State of Alabama, the State of Georgia, and numerous local governments, as well as other entities in multidistrict litigation.