Supreme Transparency
  • Term
  • 2023-2024

Harrington v. Purdue Pharma LP

Harrington v. Purdue Pharma is a case concerning responsibility for the opioid epidemic, which has taken the lives of more than 500,000 Americans. The Sacklers, who own Purdue Pharma (the developers of OxyContin), began designing liability shields for themselves in the early 2000s. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice brought criminal and civil charges against Purdue Pharma, and reached a plea agreement that prioritized DOJ’s claims in the company’s bankruptcy. The Sacklers have not declared bankruptcy; their estate is valued at $1.8 billion, while claims against Sacklers and Purdue likely exceed $40 trillion. Purdue’s current bankruptcy plan includes a shareholder release — which would permanently shield the Sacklers from certain claims filed by individuals. But individual victims have not consented to this liability release. The Supreme Court will now decide whether the Bankruptcy Code allows for the Sacklers and other ultra wealthy owners of corporations to enjoy personal liability releases as part of their corporate bankruptcy filings.

Powerbroker-Affiliated Organizations


U.S. Chamber of CommerceRead the amicus brief