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Morrisey speaks up on Supreme Court decision on Purdue Pharma settlement

By Steven Allen Adams, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday throwing a settlement agreement between states and the creators of OxyContin back to a lower court could mean changes to how much West Virginia could receive.

In a split 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rejected the nationwide settlement between 23 states and more than 2,000 local governments with Purdue Pharma, controlled by the Sackler family. The company created and manufactures the prescription opioid OxyContin.

The more than $10 billion settlement – with as much as $6 billion coming from the Sackler family itself – involved the family giving up control of the company, future profits from the newly reorganized Purdue Pharma going towards fighting opioid addiction, and shielded from future civil liability though not the family is not shielded from possible criminal prosecutions.

The settlement would have been paid out to state/local governments and individual victims over a 10-year period, including paying out between $3,500 and $48,000 to victims before attorney fees. But some victims and states objected to the settlement provisions shielding the family from future lawsuits. The bankruptcy court rejected the objections.

While a district court upheld those objections, a federal appeals court sided with the bankruptcy court. The Sackler family offered another deal if states dropped their objections, but other parties continued to pursue their objections.

The majority of Supreme Court justices ruled that the settlement unlawfully shielded Sackler family members from civil liability from future claims by victims of opioid addiction due to use of OxyContin.

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