Squire Restructuring Chief Patton Boggs Appointed Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Examiner

Signage is seen outside the Squire Patton Boggs law firm in Washington, DC, United States, August 30, 2020. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

  • Long-time bankruptcy professional selected for key role
  • Reviewer to investigate purdue board independence in negotiations
  • Purdue attorneys, creditors consulted on reviewer appointment

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(Reuters) – A government lawyer has selected Squire’s global restructuring cabinet chief Patton Boggs to investigate the independence of a special committee that struck a deal with members of the Sackler family who own the maker of OxyContin Purdue Pharma LP.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s bankruptcy watchdog, the U.S. Trustee, selected Squire’s Stephen Lerner for the role, according to court documents filed Thursday. The appointment comes a week after U.S. bankruptcy judge Robert Drain in White Plains, New York, said he would allow an examiner to determine whether the Purdue board special committee was influenced by members of the Sackler family to reach a settlement that protects them against opioids – related litigation.

The judge said in a contentious hearing on June 16 that he was not aware of any evidence to suggest the deal had been negotiated unfairly, but that he would still appeal to a reviewer for fear of articles. misleading press releases.

U.S. trustee William Harrington said in court Thursday that in selecting Lerner for the role, he consulted with lawyers for Purdue and his official committee of unsecured creditors, as well as supporters and opponents of the settlement. He also consulted with a lawyer for Peter Jackson, the founder of an advocacy group for parents whose children have died of opioid overdoses and who had requested the appointment of a reviewer.

Lerner has previously advised boards of directors in a multitude of bankruptcies, including FirstEnergy Solutions Corp and Tuesday Morning Corp. He recently represented Ferrellgas Partners LP in its Chapter 11 matter.

Drain gave the Examiner a budget of $ 200,000 to conduct the investigation and set a deadline of August 1 for its completion. However, he asked the examiner to “make reasonable efforts in good faith” to file the report by July 19.

Lerner declined to comment on the appointment. A representative for Purdue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Purdue is still in negotiations with two dozen U.S. states that refused to accept his offer to settle thousands of lawsuits accusing the company of fueling the national opioid epidemic through the deceptive marketing of its products. However, the company has provided support for dozens of states, municipalities, Native American tribes, hospitals and more.

Members of the Sackler family have pledged $ 4.275 billion in the deal, which directs funds to opioid reduction programs across the country.

Although Drain found the allegations to be unfounded during the June 16 hearing, he said he would allow the review on a limited basis. He said he didn’t expect the investigation to interfere with Purdue’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

The case is In re Purdue Pharma LP, US Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-bk-23649.

For Purdue: Marshall Huebner, Benjamin Kaminetzky, Timothy Graulich, Eli Vonnegut and James McClammy of Davis Polk & Wardwell

For the American Trustee: Paul Schwartzberg

Read more:

Purdue Pharma bankruptcy judge approves reviewer but condemns Sackler-related attacks

Purdue Pharma Prepares Voting Process For Proposed Restructuring Agreement

Purdue Pharma to Use Public Trusts and Sackler’s Money to Settle Opioid Litigation

Maria chutchian

Maria Chutchian reports on bankruptcies and corporate restructurings. She can be reached at maria.chutchian@thomsonreuters.com.

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