Supreme Court Deals Blow to Sackler Family, Opioid Deal

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Sackler family, the billionaire owners of Purdue Pharma, cannot be protected from future lawsuits related to the opioid crisis, dealing a blow to a massive settlement negotiated in bankruptcy court. The settlement had granted the Sacklers immunity from lawsuits in exchange for a payment of $6 billion for the purpose of combatting the ongoing opioid crisis.

The majority opinion, supported by five justices, argued that the settlement violated bankruptcy law by shielding the Sackler family from liability without the consent of potential plaintiffs. The dissent, supported by four justices, criticized the ruling for its potential negative impacts on opioid victims and urged a return to negotiations.

It remains to be seen what the implications of the ruling will be, as the Sacklers have not filed for bankruptcy themselves. The case will now go back to the lower court for further proceedings.

In the meantime, states are already participating in settlements from various opioid lawsuits, and these settlements could amount to around $50 billion in total. While some of this funding is used for addiction treatment, some funding decisions have sparked controversy, with some corporations seeing the settlements as a potential "cash cow."

Advocates, including Ryan Hampton, an activist and author, have urged a return to negotiations to ensure that victims' compensation is protected at all costs.

Ultimately, the Sackler family has the power to initiate further proceedings and decide their next move. While the case may continue to generate headlines, this development certainly complicates matters for the family, which has already been criticized for its role in the opioid crisis.

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