A federal judge on Wednesday allowed Purdue Pharma to resume its work carrying out the recent $10 billion settlement plan that allowed the Oxycontin maker to emerge from bankruptcy.
The decision from U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon denied a request from an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice to keep Purdue’s work on hold pending an appeal of the settlement. McMahon partially reversed a position she took over the weekend when she temporarily halted the company’s efforts at the request of the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee.
Before Purdue can resume, the judge said she needs to extract a promise from the company and the other entities that agreed to the settlement. They would pledge not to undermine the appeal in the future by claiming the settlement process had progressed too far to stop.
Lawyers for Purdue said in court this week that the company and other parties who supported the settlement — a group that includes Sackler family members and most states — are willing to sign such a pledge. Lawyers said they want to be ready to get money quickly to governments and victims of the opioid crisis if the settlement stands.
Last month, a bankruptcy judge in White Plains, New York, approved Purdue’s plan to settle 3,000 lawsuits and more than 100,000 other claims for damages the company faced related to the toll of the opioids crisis. Prescription and illicit opioids have been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over the last two decades.