Oct 13, 2021
Judge: Purdue Pharma can resume groundwork on its settlement
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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.
The bankruptcy settlement calls for turning Purdue into a new entity with its profits being used to fight the epidemic. It also calls for members of the Sackler family to contribute $4.5 billion in cash and charitable assets, and to give up ownership of Purdue.
A provision that is a driving force behind the appeal gives the Sacklers protection from civil lawsuits related to opioids. In a hearing Tuesday in her New York courtroom, McMahon said she intended to cast aside other legal arguments.
“That’s the big dog here,” she said. “That presents a pure question of law.”
The appeal in federal district court is just one part of a complicated legal case.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain, who approved Purdue’s settlement, has scheduled a hearing for next month that also hinges on the question of whether the plan should be put on hold. He’s also being asked to send the case to U.S. Circuit Court, a move that would bypass McMahon’s court. But the appeals judges would have to agree to take it.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee’s office did not comment immediately Wednesday on what step it might take next.
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Along With Chicago FOP, Alderman Wants To Repeal COVID Vaccine Mandate
CHICAGO (CBS) — The showdown over Chicago’s vaccine mandate, showing no signs of slowing down.
On Thursday, a judge ruled that both lawsuits over Mayor Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate will be heard by one judge. It comes as a group of aldermen filed an ordinance to repeal that mandate altogether.
“Residents do not want this forced down their throat.”
On Thursday, 23rd Ward Alderman Silvana Tabares filed an ordinance to repeal the vaccine mandate and require City Council approval on future mandates that could result in a no-pay status for workers. Tabares explained why she’s one of at least ten City Council members backing the proposal.
“Our first responders have been working throughout this whole pandemic,” Tabares said. “And you know a lot of them are my constituents and they deserve our respect.”
In response, Lightfoot condemned Alderman Tabares for “carrying the water” for Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara.READ MORE: 2 People Arrested Following Incident, 2 Officers Accidentally Shot In Lyons
“It’s foolishness and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it.
The city’s policy required all city employees to report their vaccination status by October 15 and led to two separate lawsuits between the city and Fraternal Order of Police.
One asked the court to block the vaccine mandate and another filed by the city asking the FOP to stop encouraging its members to ignore the requirement.
A judge ruled on Thursday against the wishes of the police union, that both lawsuits will be heard by one judge. The city’s legal department argued that separate cases could result in confusion and the potential for inconsistent rulings.
After the ruling, the judge said he was concerned about the “sensationalism” of this current fight asked both sides to remember that they are all public servants.
“You cannot be in people’s homes helping them on the most desperate days. You cannot help them if you are not vaccinated,” Lightfoot said. “That’s’ not right and I think people realize that.”MORE NEWS: Kenosha County Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Chicago Homicide Suspect At Bristol Gas Station After Two-State Crime Spree; Suspect Shot Police K-9 During Confrontation
The next hearing on these matters in front of Judge Horan is currently slated for Monday but as we’ve seen over the past few days there have been almost constant developments so that is subject to change.