OxyContin & OxyNEO

OxyContin & OxyNEO

Bellefontaine and MacGillivray v. Purdue Pharma Inc., et al
Nova Scotia Supreme Court File: Hfx No. 285995

Wagners commenced national class action litigation against the makers of OxyContin® and OxyNEO® in 2007 seeking compensation for addiction caused by these opioids. Together with three other law firms across Canada, a settlement was reached and a settlement agreement was signed on April 15, 2017. The settlement has been approved by the courts in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. A fourth approval is pending in Saskatchewan. If the proposed national settlement agreement is approved in Saskatchewan, a notice describing the process for submitting claims for compensation will be distributed to class members.

The parties have reached an agreement to settle multiple proposed class actions commenced across Canada relating to addiction-related harms allegedly caused by the drugs, OxyContin® and OxyNEO®. The settlement agreement is conditional on it being approved by the courts of Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

If the proposed national settlement agreement is approved, a notice describing the process for submitting claims for compensation will be distributed.

Updates & Latest Developments

We appeared before the Honourable Chief Justice M.D. Popescul of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench on September 4 and 5, 2019, to provide oral arguments on various preliminary issues. The issues had to be addressed before the parties could continue with the application to obtain court approval of the settlement agreement. On October 31, 2019, the decision on the preliminary issues was released. The decision may be viewed under the Court Documents sidebar.

We are pleased to report that we were successful on all issues before the Court, with the result being that (1) we may file further evidence in an effort to satisfy the Court that the settlement should be approved, and (2) the reapplication for judicial approval of the Settlement Agreement may be set down for hearing at the first reasonable opportunity. For clarity, the settlement has not yet been approved in Saskatchewan; however, the decision provides a further opportunity to seek approval of the settlement by way of another hearing in Court. The settlement was previously approved in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

Recently, the Purdue companies in the United States have declared bankruptcy, which has introduced a further obstacle to obtaining settlement approval from the Saskatchewan Court. On September 19, 2019, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recognized a stay of proceedings against the US Purdue companies and a motion to extend the stay motion to Canadian Purdue entities is expected to be heard by a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on November 28, 2019.

If granted, the effect of staying the actions in Canada against Purdue means that any further legal process in any Canadian actions against Purdue would be halted, unless and until the stay is lifted by a judge. We are continuing to monitor the situation, and after the November 28, 2019 hearing, will be considering what options are available to try to have the settlement approved by the Saskatchewan Court.

A further update will be provided as events warrant.

A national settlement has been approved by the courts in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. A fourth approval is pending in Saskatchewan. If the proposed national settlement agreement is approved in Saskatchewan, a notice describing the process for submitting claims for compensation will be distributed to class members.

The third of the four approval motions was held in Quebec on August 9, 2017.

We are pleased to advise all class members that the Quebec court has approved the Settlement Agreement.

A copy of the Quebec Settlement Approval Orders, issued on August 21, 2017, may be found under the Court Documents tab.

The remaining motion in Saskatchewan occurred on August 24, 2017. Once the Saskatchewan Court renders its decision, we will update this News tab and the issued Order will be included under the Court Documents tab.

Please see the Court Documents tab for updated Notices to the Class which corrects the error in the original Notice concerning the address for the Court in Quebec.

The second of the four approval motions was held in Nova Scotia on August 1, 2017.

We are pleased to advise all class members that the Nova Scotia court has approved the Settlement Agreement.

A copy of the Nova Scotia Settlement Approval Order, issued on August 2, 2017, may be found under the Court Documents tab.

The remaining motions in Quebec and Saskatchewan will occur on August 9 and 24, 2017. As each Court renders its decision, we will update this News tab and any issued Orders will be included under the Court Documents tab.

The first of the four approval motions was held in Ontario on July 18, 2017.

We are pleased to advise all class members that the Ontario court has approved the Settlement Agreement.

A copy of the Ontario Settlement Approval Order, issued on July 20, 2017, may be found under the Court Documents tab.

The remaining motions in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan will occur over the next month. As each Court renders its decision, we will update this News tab and any issued Orders will be included under the Court Documents tab.

We have worked with Counsel for the Defendants to find suitable dates for the filing of the materials with respect to the Plaintiffs’ motion for certification which is scheduled for October 17 & 18, 2016.

The following schedule has been agreed to by all parties:

  • April 29, 2016 – Plaintiffs’ common issues due
  • June 10, 2016 – Defendants’ affidavits due
  • July 29, 2016 – Cross-examinations must be complete
  • August 26, 2016 – Plaintiffs’ brief due
  • September 30, 2016 – Defendants’ briefs due
  • October 7, 2016 – Plaintiffs’ reply brief, if any, due

We have received correspondence from the Honourable Justice John Murphy confirming that the Plaintiffs’ motion for certification will be heard on October 17 & 18, 2016 in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

Correspondence was received on today’s date from the Honourable Justice Murphy wherein he has agreed with the suggestion that the Nova Scotia motion for certification be adjourned until August 2016 or shortly thereafter.

Justice Murphy will provide all counsel with new dates for the motion to certify this matter as a class action.

Agreements have been reached with Defendants’ counsel on a number of issues concerning the proceedings in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

As a result of the agreements and the narrowing of the issues in both jurisdictions, all counsel have agreed to revised dates for the certification motions.

The certification motion in Ontario has been rescheduled to April 4, 5 & 6, 2016 before the Honourable Justice Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court.

A letter will also be sent to the Honourable Justice Murphy of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court advising of the arrangements and requesting that the certification motion, currently scheduled for May 30 & 31, 2016 be adjourned to August 2016 or shortly thereafter.

All parties have now provided their responses to the undertakings given at the cross examinations which were held in December 2015 in Ontario.

Efforts are also continuing to narrow the issues concerning the certification motion scheduled for February 2, 3 & 4, 2016.

Along with our co-counsel team in Ontario, we are in discussions with counsel for the Defendants in an effort to narrow and focus the issues with respect to the upcoming certification motion scheduled for February 2, 3 & 4, 2016 in Ontario.

The cross examinations with respect to the Ontario proceeding have now been concluded. Numerous undertakings which arose from the cross exams must be answered and fulfilled.

Both counsel for the Plaintiffs and counsel for the Defendants are now obtaining the information to respond to the various undertakings.

All parties are currently involved in cross examinations concerning the affidavits filed by both parties in Ontario with respect to the motion for certification.

There will be further cross exams taking place over the next week or so in Ontario.

Our co-counsel in Ontario has provided the Defendants with three sworn affidavits from two of our experts concerning the response to the certification materials and evidence filed by the Defendants.

The Defendants in the Ontario proceeding have provided their response to the materials and evidence we filed with respect to the certification motion scheduled for February 2016.

The materials supplied by the Defendants are being reviewed and we will make a determination as to whether any supplemental response(s) from our experts will be necessary.

We filed a further sworn affidavit from one of our experts today with respect to the Nova Scotia proceeding.

In Ontario, work is continuing to secure dates and schedule the cross examinations on the affidavits that have been filed in that proceeding.

We are working with our co-counsel in Ontario to secure dates with Counsel for the defendants for the cross examinations of the experts and plaintiffs in Toronto.

The Order allowing for the amended claim to be filed with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has been signed by Justice Murphy.

We have proceeded to file the Plaintiffs’ 2nd Amended Statement of Claim with the Law Courts in Halifax.

Copies of the Order and amended claim are available for viewing under the Court Documents tab.

On today’s date, Wagners sent correspondence to the Honourable Justice John D. Murphy enclosing the Order consented to by all parties which allows for the amendments to the Plaintiffs’ Statement of Claim.

Once the Order has been signed by the Judge, the amended claim will be filed with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

On today’s date, Wagners delivered sworn affidavits to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to meet Justice Murphy’s deadline for perfecting the certification record.

In addition, we have sent a consent Order attaching the proposed amendments to the Statement of Claim.to Counsel for the Purdue Pharma defendants.

Once the consent has been obtained from the defendants, the Order will be sent to Justice Murphy for his signature and thereafter the amended claim documents will be filed with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia

We continue to work towards perfecting our certification motion materials which are to be filed with the Court in Nova Scotia.

As a result of Justice Murphy’s Order of July 6 2015, the parties are continuing to make efforts to narrow a number of issues prior to the scheduled motion on August 26, 2015.

We are refining the Nova Scotia Statement of Claim and intend to file a new version of the document shortly.

Once the new claim has been filed, it will be available under the Court Documents tab.

The Order of the Honourable Justice John Murphy concerning the motions to stay or dismiss the Nova Scotia proceeding is available for viewing under the Court Documents tab.

Justice Murphy has ordered that the parties proceed towards the certification motion in Nova Scotia and has assigned the dates of May 30 & 31, 2016 for the hearing of the motion.

Wagners filed its response materials to the Defendants’ motion seeking a permanent stay or dismissal of the Nova Scotia proceeding.

The filed materials may be viewed under the Court Documents tab.