In announcing the global resolution of its criminal and civil investigations of opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma and individual Purdue shareholders, the DOJ went as far as it’s gone in many years to drive a stake through the heart of a U.S. business. (The entire package is subject to the approval of U.S. Bankruptcy Court.) It’s worth reading what the DOJ had to say about this incredible settlement: “The abuse and diversion of prescription opioids has contributed to a national tragedy of addiction and deaths, in addition to those caused by illicit street opioids,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “With criminal guilty pleas, a federal settlement of more than $8 billion, and the dissolution of a company and repurposing its assets entirely for the public’s benefit, the resolution in today’s announcement re-affirms that the Department of Justice will not relent in its multi-pronged efforts to combat the opioids crisis.” You can check out the release and the plea and settlement documents here. In a good piece on the settlement, Law360 asks whether the $8 billion deal means GCs and their companies are at greater risk. John Kelly, a former federal prosecutor and managing partner of Bass Berry & Sims Washington, D.C., office, says he does not think so. "This really is an extraordinary settlement in so many ways, from the total value of the penalties to the dissolution of the company," Kelly told Law360. "I do not think this resolution creates a new normal or increased level of risk for general counsel to manage."
Published December 18, 2020.