Attorney General William Tong on Friday accused the family behind OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma of attempting to intimidate Connecticut and other states that last week opposed the company’s negotiated bankruptcy settlement.
Tong issued a statement reacting to a Thursday motion by the Raymond Sackler Family, which asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Southern New York to impose sanctions on Connecticut along with California, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.
According to the Attorney General’s office, the motion was served but later retracted and never filed in court.
In a sharply-worded press release, Tong called the motion a direct attack on Connecticut and a huge mistake.
“If these entitled thugs think they can ride off on their yachts clinging to their art and jewelry, they have another thing coming,” Tong said. “If there was any doubt, let me be incredibly clear – Connecticut will file our objection to the Purdue bankruptcy on Monday and we will fight until every viable option is exhausted.”
The four states and the District of Columbia announced last week that they would continue to oppose a reorganization plan by the Stamford-based company, which is seeking bankruptcy protection amidst the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Many other states have agreed to the terms of the mediated plan that now includes the public disclosure of more than 30 million documents, additional cash settlements from the Raymond Sackler family that will total more than $4.3 billion, and a requirement that Purdue Pharma be shuttered or sold by 2024, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
But Tong and some other attorneys general have maintained the settlement allows the family to evade the consequences of the damage caused by widespread opioid addiction.
In the Thursday motion, the Raymond Sackler family asked the court to reprimand Connecticut and some of the other opposed states, force them to pay related expenses, and strike certain statements from the court record. The family’s lawyers contend that the states had made unsupported claims.
“[E]ach State presented to this Court allegations and factual contentions that are utterly lacking evidentiary support,” lawyers for the family wrote in the motion. “Each State and Counsel either knew that these factual contentions lacked evidentiary support or would have known, had they conducted the reasonable inquiry” required by the court.
In the Friday press release, Tong said the lawyers’ decision to withdraw the motion suggested it was a colossal miscalculation.
“The fact that they are still engaging in these legal temper tantrums just proves to me that this is very much still a live fight, and that our opposition is gaining traction,” he said.