Massachusetts Lawsuit Against Purdue Pharma Over Opioid Crisis Will Move Forward

A judge has rejected a request by the billionaire owners of Purdue Pharma LP to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Massachusetts over their role in the state’s opioid crisis.

The decision by Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders in Boston on Tuesday is a setback for the family, which built a $13 billion fortune over the past two decades from sales of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin. Last month, Sanders rejected a similar dismissal request from Purdue.

Purdue filed for bankruptcy court protection last month seeking to block more than 2,000 lawsuits, including in Massachusetts, seeking to recover taxpayer money spent dealing with the opioid epidemic.

Sanders said the state had sufficiently documented its allegations against the Sacklers. “The court concludes that those allegations are specific and detailed enough (and indeed supported by Purdue’s own internal documents) to satisfy” the legal standard for the case to proceed, she said in her ruling.

While the Massachusetts case will proceed for now, a bankruptcy judge in New York is considering a request to freeze all litigation against Purdue and the Sacklers.