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Purdue Pharma judge to rule on bid to pause opioid deal Wednesday

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  • Purdue says it will not implement key components of plan in coming month
  • Multiple appeals methods complicate court docket proceedings

(Reuters) – A New York judge indicated that she is going to rule on Wednesday on requests to halt the implementation of Purdue Pharma’s reorganization plan, which might dissolve the drugmaker and defend the Sackler members of the family who personal it towards future opioid litigation.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan heard arguments on the matter throughout a Tuesday listening to, the place opponents of the Purdue plan stated it shouldn’t be allowed to go into impact whereas appeals of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain’s September order approving the deal proceed.

The U.S. Trustee, which serves because the U.S. Department of Justice’s chapter watchdog, and a few states have requested each Drain and McMahon, individually, to keep the September order. The U.S. Trustee and people states argue that the settlement violates chapter legislation by stopping opioid victims from suing the Sacklers — who didn’t file for chapter — sooner or later over their function in Purdue’s gross sales of OxyContin.

The plan would dissolve the corporate and shift belongings to a belief geared toward combating the opioid epidemic. The Sacklers have contributed $4.5 billion to the settlement in trade for the authorized protections.

McMahon stated in a written order on Sunday that she would doubtless approve requests to pause the plan on Tuesday however in the end stated she would maintain off on ruling till Wednesday.

Purdue Pharma attorneys at Davis Polk & Wardwell urged McMahon not to situation an order halting the plan’s implementation. They stated there was no risk of it going into impact earlier than a New Jersey court docket sentences Purdue in reference to a plea settlement it reached with the Justice Department final 12 months. The plan is contingent upon the sentencing, which has not but been scheduled.

Purdue’s attorneys insisted that the corporate won’t take any actions between now and Dec. 8, the earliest date the plan can go into impact beneath provisions of the deal and plea settlement, that might not be undone later. McMahon appeared involved that if she doesn’t pause the plan now and materials transactions are made, the appeals may in the end be “equitably mooted,” or rendered irrelevant as a result of unwinding the transactions could be too difficult.

The judge famous all through Tuesday’s listening to that Purdue’s scenario raises distinctive circumstances that differ from different appeals of Chapter 11 circumstances that had been finally deemed equitably moot.

Lawyers for Purdue have argued repeatedly that delaying the plan will trigger setbacks in compensating opioid victims who’re entitled to payouts beneath the deal.

Complicating the scenario is the truth that the U.S. Trustee has additionally requested Drain to situation an order pausing the implementation of the plan. A listening to on that’s scheduled for Nov. 9, although it isn’t clear if it could go ahead if McMahon points a keep.

Additionally, the U.S. Trustee and a number of other states try to carry their appeals straight to the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, skipping over the federal district court docket stage that sometimes hears chapter appeals. A listening to on that request is about for Thursday earlier than Drain.

If the enchantment is shipped straight to the 2nd Circuit, McMahon would not oversee the continuing.

Purdue filed for chapter in September 2019 to resolve hundreds of lawsuits accusing it and Sackler members of the family of fueling the U.S. opioid disaster by way of misleading advertising and marketing of its merchandise.

The case is In re Purdue Pharma LP, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-07966.

For Purdue: Marshall Huebner, Benjamin Kaminetzky, Timothy Graulich, Eli Vonnegut and James McClammy of Davis Polk & Wardwell; and Paul Breene, Ann Kramer, Anthony Crawford and Lisa Szymanski of Reed Smith

For the U.S. Trustee: Assistant U.S. Trustee Linda Riffkin, Associate General Counsel Matt Sutko and DOJ trial attorneys Beth Levene, Sumi Sakata, Paul Schwartzberg and Benjamin Higgins

Read extra:

Purdue Pharma appeals judge doubtless to keep deal approval pending enchantment

Purdue Pharma appeals judge tells attorneys to cease ‘deluge of letters’

States to search direct enchantment of Purdue Pharma plan to 2nd Circuit

Maria Chutchian

Maria Chutchian experiences on company bankruptcies and restructurings. She might be reached at maria.chutchian@thomsonreuters.com.

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