US Supreme Court rejects $6 billion OxyContin settlement shielding Sackler family

The US Supreme Court on Thursday rejected OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma's $6 billion settlement that would have shielded the Sackler family, who owned the company and earned tens of billions as it flooded the country with the highly addictive drug, from future civil lawsuits over the role they played in the country's deadly opioid epidemic.

The decision also could affect other major bankruptcies, including the $2.4 billion bankruptcy plan for the Boy Scouts of America that has been approved by a federal judge, lawyers said.

After deliberating more than six months, the justices in a 5-4 vote blocked an agreement hammered out with state and local governments and victims. The Sacklers would have contributed up to $6 billion and given up ownership of the company but retained billions more. The agreement provided that the company would emerge from bankruptcy as a different entity, with its profits used for treatment and prevention.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said “nothing in present law authorizes the Sackler discharge.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

“Opioid victims and other future victims of mass torts will suffer greatly in the wake of today’s unfortunate and destabilizing decision,” Kavanaugh wrote.

The high court had put the settlement on hold last summer, in response to objections from the Biden administration.

An opponent of the settlement praised the outcome.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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