NEW YORK –
A U.S. judge on Friday allowed Purdue Pharma to immediately challenge its rejection of legal protections for members of the Sackler family who own the maker of OxyContin, which were a major part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon’s ruling means Purdue will have another chance to keep intact a $ 4.5 billion opioid litigation settlement at the heart of the company’s plan. She gave Purdue until Jan. 17 to file the appeal with the New York-based 2nd US Court of Appeals.

McMahon overturned a bankruptcy judge’s order approving the deal in December. The settlement provides for so-called non-debtor discharges that protect the Sacklers from future opioid-related lawsuits.

Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2019 in the face of thousands of lawsuits accusing him and the Sacklers of fueling the opioid epidemic with deceptive marketing.

The Sacklers, who denied any wrongdoing, paid US $ 4.5 billion in settlement in return for the releases.

As part of Purdue’s reorganization plan, settlement funds would be directed to opioid reduction programs.

(Report by Maria Chutchian, edited by Alexia Garamfalvi and Bill Berkrot)

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