Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
We apologize for the short notice and for the lack of the level of detail typically included in our alerts, but today we became aware of an upcoming deadline to verify Tribal Nation population information for the purposes of the opioid settlement with Purdue Pharma. As you may recall, Purdue has filed bankruptcy in response to thousands of lawsuits lodged against the company based on its contribution to the national opioid epidemic through the sale and promotion of its opioid drug, OxyContin. The Purdue settlement will likely be the first to result in opioid settlement funds becoming available to Indian Country, perhaps as early as the end of this year or early 2022.
The federal district court overseeing the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, Case No. 1:17-MD-2804, appointed a Tribal Leadership Committee (TLC) to manage litigation and settlement issues relating to Tribal Nations, including the Purdue bankruptcy negotiations and settlement. One important task for the TLC is developing a fair system for allocating financial recoveries among all federally recognized Tribal Nations. In the Purdue bankruptcy, for instance, a share of the bankruptcy estate assets will be allocated to Tribal Nations collectively (if approved by the court). Those funds will then have to be allocated among all Tribal Nations. Additional information regarding the Purdue Bankruptcy Proceeding can be found here. There may be additional settlements or court judgments that will require funds to be allocated among all Tribal Nations. To learn more about the allocation methodology please click here.
A key element of the allocation model is the total number of citizens of each Tribal Nation. The TLC has compiled Tribal citizenship numbers from a variety of sources, but needs to verify each Tribal Nation’s citizenship number in order to ensure accuracy in the allocation model. The TLC has retained BrownGreer PLC to assist with verifying all tribal citizenship numbers. Working with the TLC, BrownGreer has created a secure online web portal which will allow you to complete a short questionnaire about your Tribe's citizenship number. Tribal Nations must complete a form certifying population count by Friday, June 4th. Otherwise, publicly available and/or CARES Act population data will be used to determine your Tribal Nation’s share of the settlement. The population verification form, the secure portal, and further information can be accessed by emailing NATO@browngreer.com or calling (888) 361-0741.
For more information, please contact Liz Malerba, USET SPF Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* USET SPF is not offering any opioid litigation legal advice, nor should this communication be construed to be offering any legal guidance. The sole purpose of this communication is to ensure that Tribal Nations are aware of an important upcoming deadline associated with the Purdue Pharma opioid settlement to ensure that Tribal Nations are in the best position to confirm their population figure that will be utilized in the settlement allocation and distribution calculations.