Attorney General Becerra Urges Court to Deny Purdue Pharma’s Request to Halt Case, Continues Fight for Accountability

Friday, October 4, 2019
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today urged the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to deny Purdue Pharma’s request for a preliminary injunction that would delay California’s efforts to hold the Sackler family accountable. Purdue Pharma seeks to halt the lawsuits brought forth by Attorney General Becerra and a coalition of 25 attorneys general against Purdue and members of the Sackler family.

“The opioid crisis has taken the lives of too many of our loved ones. We owe it to them to bring accountability to those who fueled and profited from this epidemic,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It is immoral and completely unacceptable that the Sackler family is seeking to avoid accountability by leveraging Purdue’s corporate bankruptcy to their benefit. Californians deserve transparency, and this case must move forward to seek justice for our communities that have been torn apart by this epidemic. We are committed to holding bad actors accountable by proceeding forward with our law enforcement actions.”

In 2015, a coalition of attorneys general began a collaborative multistate investigation of opioid companies suspected of illegal conduct. The coalition issued civil investigative demands, reviewed thousands of internal company documents, analyzed death certificates and prescription records, and took sworn testimony from the companies’ current and former employees. On June 3, 2019, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit alleging that Purdue’s misleading marketing and sales practices played a major role in contributing to the nationwide opioid crisis. It further alleged that Purdue created a public nuisance through its deceptive sales and marketing practices, which misled healthcare providers and patients about the addictive nature of opioids and contributed to an over-supply of opioids in the market.

In response to the actions of many attorneys general across the nation, the Sacklers filed motions to dismiss in several cases, based on a wide range of legal defenses, testing the boundaries of states’ jurisdiction and substantive law. Purdue and the Sackler family now seek to expand the protections made available through bankruptcy court in an effort to halt the coalition’s law enforcement actions against them. In today’s filing, Attorney General Becerra and the coalition of attorneys general argue that the court should deny Purdue’s motion because enjoining the coalition’s law enforcement actions against the Sacklers would prevent the states from pursuing accountability for the crisis the Sacklers helped create.

Copies of the oppositions can be found here and here.

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