Purdue, NRA and Boy Scouts: Bankruptcies That Defined 2021
The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t bring as many corporate Chapter 11 bankruptcies as the first year, but that didn’t mean things were quiet in bankruptcy courts. Here are five cases that made big waves in 2021 with their unusual legal strategies, high-profile players, and overall unpredictability.
The Purdue bankruptcy, which began in 2019, served as a reminder that the U.S. was battling more than one major public health crisis. In September, Purdue, which filed for bankruptcy to resolve thousands of lawsuits accusing it of fueling the opioid epidemic through deceptive marketing of OxyContin, secured approval of a plan to steer funding towards opioid abatement programs. The plan came with a deal that provided legal protection for the Sackler family members who own the drugmaker against future opioid-related litigation in exchange for a $4.5 billion contribution to the settlement. But at the tail-end of 2021, a U.S. judge stunned everyone involved by effectively tossing the Sackler deal. She decided on appeal that the bankruptcy court did not have the authority to grant that protection to the Sacklers, who did not file for bankruptcy themselves and have denied wrongdoing. Purdue, which pleaded guilty in 2020 to criminal charges related to its marketing of its opioids, says it will appeal her ruling, meaning this case is far from finished.
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Reuters by Maria Chutchian. Published December 27, 2021.