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OxyContin pills. Photo: Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, was willing to pay handsomely to avoid a high-profile, televised trial over the company's role in the opioid crisis.

The big question: How much more is Purdue willing to pay to settle the 1,600 other lawsuits that have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio?

  • "It’s got to set off a feeding frenzy," University of Georgia law professor Elizabeth Burch said. "There’s blood in the water now."

Driving the news: Purdue reached a $270 million settlement yesterday with Oklahoma, where the first major trial over the opioid epidemic is set to begin in May.

Details, via the Wall Street Journal:

  • Purdue will pay Oklahoma just shy of $200 million, most of it to fund a new addiction treatment center. Members of the Sackler family, which founded and controlled Purdue during its OxyContin heyday, will contribute another $75 million.

What we're watching: Purdue has said it's considering declaring bankruptcy, which would likely limit plaintiffs' ability to collect damages they might win at trial.

  • That possibility "exerted powerful leverage at the bargaining table in Oklahoma," The New York Times reports, and could jump-start settlement talks in the larger, consolidated case as well.
  • Purdue's settlement doesn't affect the other companies Oklahoma is pursuing, including Johnson & Johnson.

Go deeper: Huge national opioids lawsuit moves forward

Go deeper

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.