As Purdue, Sacklers Seek to Block NJ’s Opioid Suit Citing Bankruptcy, AG Grewal Demands Documents from Family
Green Cross Strong news – Trenton, NJ: NJ Office of the Attorney General reports 9.20.2019
Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that the State has issued demands for documents and information from eight members of Purdue Pharma’s founding Sackler family, and has served subpoenas on five Delaware-based corporate partnerships that own the vast majority of Purdue’s assets.
The State’s action comes in the wake of Purdue Pharma’s formal declaration of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the filing of a motion by Purdue seeking to enjoin New Jersey from pursuing its own lawsuits against the company and members of the Sackler family for triggering the opioid epidemic in New Jersey through deceptive marketing of Purdue’s addictive pain medications.
While Purdue has reached a proposed agreement with a number of states and other jurisdictions that brought similar opioid lawsuits against the company, New Jersey has rejected that agreement.
“As I have said previously, the Sackler-run Purdue Pharma was a morally bankrupt company long before it declared actual bankruptcy. We are committed to making them pay for the harm they’ve done by pushing their highly addictive opioid products on an unsuspecting public,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are following the money. And we are not going to be deterred by the company’s decision to declare bankruptcy and attempt to give the Sacklers a soft landing.”
Served this morning, the State’s formal requests for documents were directed to former Purdue CEO and President Dr. Richard S. Sackler, who also served as Purdue’s head of research and development for nearly a decade; Jonathan D. Sackler; Dr. Kathe Sackler; Ilene Sackler Lefcourt; Mortimer D.A. Sackler; Beverly Sackler; Theresa Sackler; and David A. Sackler.
Each Sackler sat on the Purdue Pharma Board of Directors for many years – including some who served for the better part of three decades – before leaving the Board in 2017 or 2018.
Each is a named defendant in a separate opioid lawsuit filed by the State earlier this year.
Among the documents sought by the State, today’s demand calls for communications and/or documents “sufficient to show everything of value that Purdue provided to you” including salary, bonuses, personal property, real property, consulting fees, reimbursement for expenses, profits, stocks or stock options.
In a related action, Attorney General Grewal served subpoenas on five Wilmington-based corporations that, collectively, own 99.5 percent of Purdue’s assets.
Those companies are: Beacon Company; BR Holdings Associates L.P.; Pharmaceutical Research Associates L.P.; PLP Associates Holdings, L.P. and Rosebay Medical Company, L.P.
In each instance, the subpoenas demand the corporate partnerships provide, among other things, foreign and domestic tax returns, information on investment payments or distributions, documents concerning their payment or transfer of monies, loans made, any bank, brokerage, investment or trust accounts in their names, and other financial information.
New Jersey also has sued Purdue Pharma alleging a “direct” link between New Jersey’s opioid crisis and a push by Purdue to boost profits by deceptively marketing addictive medications and exploiting “opiod-naïve” new markets. The lawsuit charged Purdue with widespread deception concerning the risks and benefits of these dangerously addictive pain medications.
In May of this year, Attorney General Grewal filed suit against the eight Sackler defendants, alleging that their greed-driven opioid marketing and sales strategy fomented the opioid crisis that continues to claim lives in New Jersey and across the nation. Filed in Superior Court in Essex County, the State’s complaint accused the Sackler defendants of seeking to become unimaginably rich by deceptively promoting their company’s opioid pain medications as rarely addictive, seeking to flood the market with Purdue’s opioid pain products by encouraging risky prescribing practices, and by targeting vulnerable new patient populations such as the elderly.
All of the Purdue and Sacklers-related information requests and subpoenas served today call for those targeted to provide responsive information dating from January 2007 to the present.
The following Division of Law attorneys are handling the Sackler matter on behalf of the State: Deputy Attorney General Jesse Sierant (Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section); Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Section Chief Patricia Schiripo (Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section); Deputy Attorney General Brian De Vito (Government & HealthCare Fraud Section), Assistant Attorney General Janine Matton (Affirmative Civil Enforcement) and Assistant Attorney General Kevin Jespersen.
In addition, the Attorney General has retained the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC to assist the Office in the litigation.