The federal bankruptcy system is morally bankrupt. The system has been abused by corporations and the wealthy to the point that it no longer serves the purpose for which it was designed: to provide limited shelter from creditors so that financially strapped individuals and businesses can either liquidate. , or reorganize themselves and put their affairs in order.
The mission has transformed into helping the rich maintain their vast financial assets while ensuring that those they have wronged receive nothing, or as little as possible. Two recent examples highlight how the system serves the rich rather than controlling them.
Years before it rose to fame for its coronavirus vaccine, drugmaker Johnson & Johnson faced a public relations disaster after losing a high-profile Missouri civil lawsuit over carcinogenic asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder. A $ 2 billion verdict in favor of women who sued after contracting ovarian cancer went to the United States Supreme Court, where it was upheld. A Missouri jury initially set the damages at $ 4.7 billion, but the figure was later reduced in court.
Instead of paying and accepting responsibility, Johnson & Johnson formed a Texas shell company LTL and then gave the new company all financial and legal responsibility for baby powder cases. Two weeks ago, LTL filed for bankruptcy. Now all the financial rewards are in limbo.
Then, of course, there’s the infamy Purdue Pharma’s billionaire Sackler family. They are the subject of a new Hulu series, “Dopesick,” chronicling how the family devised a strategy to market the opioid drug OxyContin as a miracle pain reliever. It was specifically advertised to doctors as non-addictive. In fact, it was highly addictive and played a major role in creating the national epidemic of opioid addiction over the past two decades.
In a clever legal move, the Sacklers found a way to tie into the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy filing to protect their fortunes from future liability. These maneuvers are dripping with cynicism about how easily the rich and powerful can manipulate the justice system in their favor, without ever fully considering the lives they have ruined.
– St. Louis Post-Dispatch