Skadden, Wilmer, Dechert to Give Up Some Purdue Legal Fees

Three top law firms representing Purdue Pharma LP in its bankruptcy will give up a total of $1 million in legal fees as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice.

The firms are Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and Dechert LLP. They agreed to resolve claims by the Justice Department’s U.S. Trustee Program that they failed to properly disclose an agreement between Purdue and members of the Sackler family who own Purdue over the defense against lawsuits seeking billions of dollars for death and illness connected to the pain medication OxyContin, the U.S. announced on Thursday.

The U.S. Trustee Program, which oversees the administration of bankruptcy cases, said in a statement that the disclosures were required under federal bankruptcy rules. The U.S. and the law firms “disagree on this issue,” but the firms agreed to make additional disclosures as part of the deal, according to a court filing.

The many law firms and consultants involved in the bankruptcy have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in fees.

“These disclosure violations are particularly concerning because a central question in these cases has been the independence of Purdue from the Sackler families,” USTP Director Cliff White said in a statement.

Dechert declined to comment on the announcement. The other two firms didn’t immediately respond to emails and calls seeking comment.

Purdue filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in September 2019 in the face of about 2,700 lawsuits for its role in the U.S. opioid crisis. Since then the company has pleaded guilty to three felonies and agreed to pay $8.3 billion to settle federal probes of how it marketed OxyContin. The Sacklers have agreed to contribute $4.2 billion to the bankruptcy estate as part of a settlement.

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