Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Oxycontin, Boeing, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd, Amazon Fires

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team


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OxyContin maker prepares 'free-fall' bankruptcy as settlement talks stall

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection before the end of the month if it does not reach a settlement with U.S. communities over widespread opioid litigation, three people familiar with the matter said, after some states balked at the company’s $10 billion to $12 billion offer in August to end their lawsuits as part of a negotiated Chapter 11 case.

On Friday, Purdue lawyers had documents prepared for a Chapter 11 filing at a moment’s notice, Reuters has learned. A federal judge, who expects plaintiffs to update him on settlement progress this week, wants 35 state attorneys general on board with a deal, a threshold that has not yet been reached, the people familiar with the matter said.

Purdue lawyers have told lead attorneys for local governments and some state attorneys general for weeks, and again in recent days, that the company will have to file for bankruptcy without a settlement if one is not reached soon, one of the people said. This approach is known as a “free-fall” bankruptcy filing because it lacks consensus on a reorganization beforehand. read more »

Boeing not able to respond to regulators on MAX at August meeting

Boeing was not able to respond to regulator questions on modifications made to the 737 MAX flight control system at an August meeting with international officials, sources said Tuesday.

The planes have been grounded globally since mid-March, following two crashes that killed 346 people. Boeing is now seeking a green light to return the jets to service after developing fixes for the jets' flight control computers.

The meeting between Boeing and US, European and Brazilian regulators and others took place in Seattle, said another source, confirming prior reporting in The Wall Street Journal according to which the issue could push back Boeing's timeframe for returning the 737 MAX to service. read more »

Is One of the World’s Biggest Lawsuits Built on a Sham?

A dying Irishman went for one last big score in Nigeria. The project failed, but a London tribunal says his company’s owed $9 billion and counting.

Gaslighting - The oilfield fires of the Niger Delta burn day and night. Metal pipes snake through the swampland, spewing flames so vast they cast the sky in apocalyptic orange. Southern Nigeria sits atop a bubbling stew of oil and gas. Companies want only the former, so they incinerate the latter. The industry calls it “flaring.”

For millions of Nigerians, flaring is a curse. It fills the air with toxic fumes that cause respiratory disease and cancer and later fall as acid rain, which damages homes and crops. It also wastes vast amounts of energy in a region where many villages lack electricity and cities suffer daily blackouts.

In 2008 the Nigerian government said it would end flaring by using oilfield gas to generate electricity. The minister of petroleum resources acknowledged that the challenge would be “enormous.” Converting gas requires it to be captured, transported, refined, and piped back to power plants and onto the grid.

Officials struggled to persuade big multinationals to invest in the required infrastructure, so concessions were granted to 13 smaller companies, some virtually unknown. One was Process and Industrial Developments Ltd., or P&ID, which was registered in the British Virgin Islands but had no website or track record. Its chairman was Michael “Mick” Quinn, a 68-year-old Irishman with a rakish mustache and decades of experience in Nigeria, mostly as a military contractor. read more »

Follow the Money to the Amazon

Who is profiting from the development that led to these fires?

The scale of the crisis is unfathomable: the skies of Sao Paulo darkened with smoke from the Amazon aflame thousands of miles away. A terrifying climate double whammy is upon us: As the forest burns, the trees release stored carbon in the form of greenhouse-gas-inducing carbon dioxide; and as these forests vanish, we lose the carbon-storing potential of the trees. It may seem there’s nothing we in the United States can do, but the drivers of this destruction, including agribusiness and their financiers, are more closely connected to us than we may realize—heightening our responsibility to act.

Earlier this year, the U.S-based nonprofit Amazon Watch, which has worked closely with indigenous groups in South America for 20 years, published an analysis showing that “foreign investors have enormous influence over what happens in the Brazilian Amazon … Big banks and large investment companies play a critical role, providing billions of dollars in lending, underwriting, and equity investment.”

These investors have helped stoke the growth of the beef and soy industry in Brazil, irresponsibly and inexorably, regardless of their intention, putting the Amazon in the crosshairs of agribusiness. In recent years, Brazil has emerged as the world’s largest exporter of beef and soy. Brazil accounts for roughly 20 percent of the global beef-export market. read more »