(Reuters) – Equitrans Midstream Corp said on Monday it will evaluate the cost and timing of the completion of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline based on ongoing litigation and upcoming federal approvals.

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the under-construction Mountain Valley Pipeline near Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S. September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave Mountain Valley permission late Friday to resume some construction on its $5.4 billion-$5.7 billion pipeline, which runs from Virginia to West Virginia.

“As the litigation process progresses and as we receive additional information from FERC regarding potentially releasing the remainder of the route for construction, (Mountain Valley) will continue to evaluate its current construction plans, budget, and schedule,” Equitrans said.

Mountain Valley is one of several U.S. oil and gas pipelines delayed by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local groups that found problems with federal permits issued by the Trump administration.

FERC suspended work on Mountain Valley a year ago due to litigation over the project’s Biological Opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which allows construction in areas inhabited by endangered and threatened species.

The FWS issued a new Biological Opinion in early September. Environmental and other groups continue to challenge the latest FWS approval and other federal permits in court.

Analysts at Height Capital Markets said they expect the project to enter service in mid 2021 but noted timing could slip to the third quarter of 2021 if legal challenges prevent some stream crossings.

“We acknowledge the legal challenge that is currently before Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and have agreed to temporarily delay stream and waterbody activities out of respect for that process,” Equitrans said.

Equitrans has said it expects the pipeline, which is about 92% complete, to enter service in early

Drugmaker Mallinckrodt  (MNK) – Get Report became the third major opioid producer to file for bankruptcy, weighed down by thousands of U.S. lawsuits from states, cities and counties that have blamed drugmakers and distributors for the epidemic of overdose deaths.

“After many months of deliberation, negotiation and consideration of alternatives, Mallinckrodt’s management and board of directors determined that implementing a Chapter 11 restructuring provides the best opportunity to maximize the value of the enterprise and position the company for the future in light of the current challenges it faces,” said Mark Trudeau, Mallinckrodt’s president and CEO, in a statement.

The company said it entered into a restructuring agreement that would reduce its debt by about $1.3 billion. The company also said it aims to resolve all opioid litigation while in bankruptcy protection.

Mallinckrodt listed estimated liabilities of $1 billion to $10 billion in its bankruptcy filing and assets in the same range.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the maker of OxyContin that entered Chapter 11 protection in September 2019, has proposed a $10 billion settlement of existing claims. Insys Therapeutics also filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control has estimated that every day in the U.S. 130 people die from an opioid-related drug overdose.

Mallinckrodt hired restructuring advisers late last year, and management disclosed in February that it was pursuing court protection.

The plan at that time was to settle its opioid claims by putting a small part of the company into bankruptcy, but it failed to gain required support from lenders.

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FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkillers Oxycodone Hydrochloride, 30mg pills, made by Mallinckrodt sit on a counter at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photo

(Reuters) – Mallinckrodt Plc MNK.N filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, saddled with lawsuits alleging it fueled the U.S. opioid epidemic and after it lost a court battle to avoid paying higher rebates to state Medicaid programs for its top-selling drug.

The company listed both assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District Of Delaware.

More than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed accusing drug manufacturers of engaging in deceptive marketing that promoted the use of addictive painkillers, fueling an epidemic that since 1999 has resulted in more than 450,000 overdose deaths.

The company had in February said it planned to have its generic drug business file for bankruptcy as part of a tentative $1.6 billion opioid settlement to resolve claims by state attorneys general and U.S. cities and counties.

It further warned on Aug. 4 the parent company and other units may also seek bankruptcy protection after a judge allowed the federal government to force it to pay higher rebates to state Medicaid programs for its multiple-sclerosis drug H.P. Acthar Gel.

Its per-vial price has risen from about $50 in 2001 to $38,892 in 2019 and it generated 30.1% of the company’s net sales last year.

The drugmaker said it will implement a restructuring support agreement that would provide for an amended proposed opioid claims settlement and a financial restructuring.

“The company has agreed to pay $260 million over seven years and reset Acthar Gel’s Medicaid rebate calculation as of July 1, 2020, such that state Medicaid programs will receive 100% rebates on Acthar

(RTTNews) – Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (CMTL) and Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (GILT) announced Monday that the companies have agreed to terminate their
merger agreement, and have settled all pending litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery.

In connection with the termination and settlement agreement, Comtech has agreed to make a payment of $70 million to Gilat.

In pre-market activity on Nasdaq, Gilat shares were gaining 12.3 percent to trade at $5.85.

Both companies Board of directors have approved the merger termination and the settlement agreement. Following the settlement, the trial of the litigation that was scheduled to begin today in Delaware Chancery Court was canceled.

It was in late January this year that Comtech agreed to acquire Gilat in a cash and stock deal with an enterprise value of approximately $532.5 million.

On July 11, an amended complaint was filed by Comtech against Gilat in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, saying that Gilat has suffered a “Material Adverse Effect”, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and, as a consequence, Comtech was not required to consummate the merger as certain closing conditions were not met.

Gilat filed a counter claim seeking enforcement of the merger agreement or hundreds of millions of dollars in monetary damages following Comtech’s filing of an amended complaint.

In a joint statement now, Fred Kornberg, Comtech’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Dov Baharav, Chairman of the Board of Gilat, said, “While we both believed from the outset that the merger of these two great companies was a perfect marriage, the COVID-19 pandemic made the timing of the combination particularly challenging.”

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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AM Best will join a virtual panel session focused on COVID-19 litigation and threats on Oct. 8, 2020, as part of the Re/Insurance Lounge, a forum for insurance- and reinsurance-related discussions.

Sridhar Manyem, director, industry research and analytics, will join a panel session, titled, “Covid-19 Litigation and Threats.” This session will look at the growing threat of lawsuits in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues around policy language, the potential scope of claims and include an overview of the related lawsuits and litigation.

As head of the rating agency’s industry research team, Manyem is responsible for publishing AM Best’s perspectives of topical issues relating to the insurance industry and possible implications to AM Best’s Credit Ratings. The two-hour session will take place Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. (BST) (9 a.m. EDT).

The Re/Insurance Lounge is a permanent online hub from the Intelligent Insurer that provides insurance executives a platform to share best practices and explore top issues via live video interviews, panel discussions, workshops and virtual conferences. To stay abreast of AM Best’s participation in the Re/Insurance Lounge, and for more information, please visit https://www.reinsurancelounge.com/home.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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