Maloney and DeSaulnier Urge DOJ to Oppose Bankruptcy Plan That Lets Sackler Family Evade Responsibility for Opioid Crisis

Jun 30, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (June 30, 2021)—Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and senior Committee Member Rep. Mark DeSaulnier sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to vote against the plan of reorganization Purdue Pharma has proposed as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 


If approved, Purdue’s reorganization plan would grant legal immunity to members of the Sackler family over the objection of two dozen state attorneys general and in direct contradiction to DOJ’s prior position on nonconsensual non-debtor releases.


“Under Purdue’s proposed plan of reorganization plan, members of the Sackler family would contribute $4.2 billion—less than half of the fortune they amassed from the company—to resolve all legal claims related to their role in the opioid epidemic and obtain immunity from current and future opioid-related lawsuits,” the Members wrote.


On June 2, 2021, a bankruptcy judge approved Purdue’s disclosure statement, allowing the company to begin soliciting votes for its plan of reorganization from creditors—including the federal government—with a deadline of July 14, 2021.


DOJ’s support for the terms of Purdue’s bankruptcy would be in direct conflict with its prior position that the nonconsensual release of government claims against non-debtors—such as those brought by state attorneys general against the Sacklers—is never lawful in bankruptcy. 


“The federal government must not support the Sackler family’s attempts to evade accountability for fueling a crisis that has claimed nearly half a million American lives.   We strongly urge DOJ to uphold the federal government’s established position regarding non-debtor releases and vote against any plan of reorganization that permits the Sacklers to shield themselves through the nonconsensual release of government claims.”


Earlier this month, the Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing to examine the role of the Sackler family in the opioid epidemic and policies to promote accountability for their actions—including the SACKLER Act, a bill to prohibit nonconsensual non-debtor releases for government claims. 


In a recorded statement submitted to the Committee, the career prosecutor who led the first federal investigation into Purdue Pharma warned that Purdue’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings may allow the Sacklers to once again evade responsibility by obtaining non-debtor releases.


Click here to read the letter to Attorney General Garland.



117th Congress