Associated Press

State and local governments have been seeking billions from Purdue Pharma as a way to hold the company accountable for the nation's opioid epidemic.

But after a breakdown in negotiations made public this week, that could get more difficult.

Two attorneys general leading settlement talks with the company told their colleagues Saturday in an email obtained by The Associated Press that talks had hit an impasse. They said Purdue is likely to file for bankruptcy.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias says that would mean less money for the roughly 2,000 governments suing the family.

He said that as governments sue members of the Sackler family, which owns the company, it could be legally challenging to bring the family money back from overseas.

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