Attorney General Bonta: Today’s SCOTUS Decision Holds the Sackler Family Accountable for Their Role in Fueling the Opioid Epidemic

Thursday, June 27, 2024
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OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down confirmation of Purdue Pharma L.P.’s (Purdue) bankruptcy plan in Harrington v. Purdue Pharma, finding that nonconsensual third-party releases are not authorized under the Bankruptcy Code. Purdue’s bankruptcy plan provided the Sackler family, which owned Purdue, immunity in exchange for paying up to $6 billion for claims related to the company’s misleading marketing of its powerful pain medication OxyContin and their role in creating the opioid crisis. Today’s decision reverses a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that had afforded the Sacklers broad protection from liability that far exceeded what they would have obtained had they gone through bankruptcy themselves.

 “For years, the Sackler family prioritized their own interests and profits over people, fueling the opioid epidemic that ravaged our communities and led to the loss of countless lives across our country,” said Attorney General Bonta. “No amount of money will ever undo the devastation that the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma have caused in perpetuating this crisis, but today’s decision will allow those that have suffered at the hands of the Sacklers to hold them accountable for their greed and willful misconduct. There is still much work to be done to fight the opioid epidemic, and the California Department of Justice remains committed to building on our efforts to heal our communities and respond to this epidemic from all angles, from providing resources for prevention and treatment to holding those responsible for this crisis accountable.”

Attorney General Bonta is unwavering in his commitment to protect California communities and fight the opioid crisis. In September, Attorney General Bonta filed a letter with the U.S. Supreme Court in this case again expressing his view that nonconsensual third party releases, such as those here, were unlawful. In addition, the California Department of Justice has secured over $48 billion through nationwide settlements, including up to $4.25 billion for California, bringing needed funding back to communities for treatment and prevention strategies.

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