31 votes

US Supreme Court rejects liability shield at center of Purdue Pharma settlement (gifted link)

4 comments

  1. [2]
    DavesWorld
    Link
    My understanding of the issue involved is the bankruptcy is Purdue Pharma's, not any of the Sacklers'. Meaning, the Sacklers who own/control Purdue weren't declaring bankruptcy. Their company was....

    My understanding of the issue involved is the bankruptcy is Purdue Pharma's, not any of the Sacklers'. Meaning, the Sacklers who own/control Purdue weren't declaring bankruptcy. Their company was. But, in the midst of that bankruptcy, the Sacklers offered to contribute six billion dollars in personal non-Purdue Pharma funds to the settlement in exchange for blanket immunity (for Sackler Family members) from further liability related to the OxyContin mess.

    SCOTUS ruled the bankruptcy code doesn't permit a third party (here, the Sacklers) to receive immunity as part of a bankruptcy settlement. Presumably, if the Sacklers themselves were in bankruptcy proceedings as a primary party, this ruling wouldn't apply. But since their company was in proceedings, not the Sacklers, the bankruptcy court deciding to issue them blanket immunity was improper.

    A check online indicates the Sackler family apparently has a collective net worth somewhere around eleven billion dollars. Their contribution of approximately half that in exchange for immunity was a gift they were hoping to steal in plain sight. One could even argue it might possibly be an example of some form of corruption, that they were able to slide themselves into the bankruptcy of their company and work out a deal that safeguards billions in personal funds from the opioid issue.

    The dissent seems to be taking an angle of "well this is money on the table now that could be divided up amongst the plaintiffs of the opioid crisis pretty much immediately, and by overruling immunity it means more legal proceedings will be required to secure any of that money."

    Which is a bullshit angle to take as a matter of law. Despite how partisan SCOTUS has become in recent years, its purpose and point is to settle matters of law. Not individual issues. Here, the purpose was to rule as the court of final standing as to whether or not a third party can join a bankruptcy and receive immunity from that bankruptcy court. Even (and especially) over any potential objections other parties might have to such a ruling.

    The Sackler haven't lost anything here. If they get sued (as they should) and are faced with a judgment so steep they cannot pay it, they'll be forced into bankruptcy (as they should). At that point, as a primary party of their bankruptcy, it might (according to my understanding of the issues involved, including this SCOTUS ruling) be legal for them to receive blanket immunity from further liability on any of the issues that put them into bankruptcy.

    This whole thing was the Sacklers deciding to cut their losses and safeguard themselves. They wanted to take a controllable hit, rather than risking a future judgement against them personally as the owners and controllers of Purdue who profited from the opioid matter.

    That's why they and their lawyers came up with this six billion (out of eleven) in exchange for immunity deal. Sure six billion is a lot of money. A lot. But so is eleven. And so is the money (and other hardships which a lawsuit would ultimately reduce down to a dollar figure) lost by victims of the opioid crisis Purdue Pharma, as directed and managed by the Sacklers, precipitated to great fiscal advantage.

    To be clear, fuck the Sacklers and their company. They were drug dealers who operated through a legal loophole. On the street, opioids are controlled substances. Illegal for non-medical use. But with FDA approval for certain formulations of these opioids, they became legal via the correct channels.

    And the Sacklers directed their company to aggressively pursue every possible sales advantage they could conceive of via those channels. Not to maximize legal medical uses, but to "encourage" doctors to make Purdue Pharma controlled Federally scheduled drugs available even in instances when it's highly questionable. Turning doctors into street corner dealers, which is exactly what happened.

    The Sacklers developed aggressive marketing tactics persuading doctors to prescribe OxyContin in particular. Doctors were enticed with free trips to pain-management seminars (which were effectively all-expenses-paid vacations) and paid speaking engagements. Sales of their drugs soared, as did the number of people dying from overdoses.[3] From 1999 to 2020, nearly 841,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, with prescription and illicit opioids responsible for 500,000 of those deaths.[4] The Sackler family have been described as "the worst drug dealers in history"[5][6] and the "most evil family in America".[7][8][9][10]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purdue_Pharma

    Fuck them. So many lives ruined, all so one already very rich family could become even richer. And now they want to hang on to mostly half of their drug dealing riches, fighting all the way to SCOTUS trying to.

    My mother had some medical issues in 2022. As a result of the Feds and States clamping down HARD on pain relief medications in the wake of how abused they were with Purdue and the Sacklers "encouraging" the medical establishment to prescribe them on a whim, my mother had to suffer through a lot of pain for a couple of months. A lot.

    Pain she wasn't allowed to take a medically necessary drug to alleviate, all because one rich family thought "well, we have a market for our drugs that's X sized ... what if was X times a bunch more over sized instead?"

    Hopefully this SCOTUS ruling clears the way for the victim class of the opioid crisis to go after the Sacklers in the same way they've gone after Purdue. Of course the family will continue fighting tooth and nail to hang onto their drug dealing proceeds, but with any luck after the lawyers have gotten several more years of billings out of everyone involved, the Sacklers will be forced into bankruptcy.

    The best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people. If we're not going to jail them, we can at least hurt them. In a legal and civilized manner. Here's hoping.

    17 votes
    1. jredd23
      Link Parent
      Your post is very informative and wholeheartedly agree with this.

      The best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people. If we're not going to jail them, we can at least hurt them. In a legal and civilized manner.

      Your post is very informative and wholeheartedly agree with this.

      8 votes
  2. Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    What a weird split in the vote ... 5-4, w/Conservatives and Liberals on both sides. Honestly not sure how I feel about this one. Love the idea of seeing the Sacklers personally sued into the...

    What a weird split in the vote ... 5-4, w/Conservatives and Liberals on both sides.

    Honestly not sure how I feel about this one. Love the idea of seeing the Sacklers personally sued into the poorhouse (to some degree, at least) ... and yet, I kind of feel like the dissenting opinion sounds more correct.

    Looking forward to seeing smarter people unpack this one.

    9 votes
  3. skybrian
    Link
    It seems like this ruling helps unknown people who might want to sue the Sacklers personally someday and haven't done it yet, at the expense of everyone who already sued the company and won. I...

    It seems like this ruling helps unknown people who might want to sue the Sacklers personally someday and haven't done it yet, at the expense of everyone who already sued the company and won. I suppose it's possible that there will be a better deal someday. But since an agreement can't be made, nobody gets any money from them any time soon.

    I have no particular interest in this case, but in general, I'm in favor of actually helping people sooner rather than later. (At least, in the ways that they could be helped with money.) So it seems like a loss.

    3 votes