A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin made by Purdue Pharma LP at a local pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017.   REUTERS/George Frey

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

(Reuters) – A New York judge indicated that she’s going to rule on Wednesday on requests to halt the implementation of Purdue Pharma’s reorganization plan, which might dissolve the drugmaker and protect the Sackler relations 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. Chapter Judge Robert Drain’s September order approving the deal proceed.

The U.S. Trustee, which serves because the U.S. Division 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 position in Purdue’s gross sales of OxyContin.

The plan would dissolve the corporate and shift property to a belief aimed 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 probably approve requests to pause the plan on Tuesday however finally stated she would maintain off on ruling till Wednesday.

Purdue Pharma legal professionals at Davis Polk & Wardwell urged McMahon not to concern 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 Division final 12 months. The plan is contingent upon the sentencing, which has not but been scheduled.

Purdue’s legal professionals 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 finally be “equitably mooted,” or rendered irrelevant as a result of unwinding the transactions can 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 have been ultimately deemed equitably moot.

Attorneys 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 concern an order pausing the implementation of the plan. A listening to on that’s scheduled for Nov. 9, although it is not clear if it might go ahead if McMahon points a keep.

Moreover, the U.S. Trustee and several other states try to carry their appeals straight to the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court docket of Appeals, skipping over the federal district court docket stage that usually 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 1000’s of lawsuits accusing it and Sackler relations of fueling the U.S. opioid disaster by misleading advertising and marketing of its merchandise.

The case is In re Purdue Pharma LP, U.S. District Court docket, 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, Affiliate Common Counsel Matt Sutko and DOJ trial attorneys Beth Levene, Sumi Sakata, Paul Schwartzberg and Benjamin Higgins

Learn extra:

Purdue Pharma appeals judge probably to keep deal approval pending enchantment

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

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

Maria Chutchian

Maria Chutchian stories on company bankruptcies and restructurings. She could be reached at [email protected]