The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its most anticipated bankruptcy decision in recent memory. As the case’s name—Hamilton v. Purdue Pharma—suggests, it stems from the company (Purdue Pharma) and the family (the Sacklers) at the center of the opioid pandemic that has claimed the lives of approximately 247,000 Americans from 1999 to 2019 alone.

Purdue ran to bankruptcy court to funnel thousands of lawsuits across the country to a single forum: the bankruptcy court. Through what is called a Chapter 11 “plan,” Purdue even struck a deal with almost all major creditor constituencies, including the plaintiff groups involved in the thousands of lawsuits against Purdue. For the nonbankruptcy folks in the audience, a “plan” can be thought of as a global contract with creditors and other stakeholders that resolves all claims against a company in an orderly fashion to enable the company to continue on as a going concern or liquidate its affairs through a structured process.