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W.Va. court lets addicts sue health care providers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mingo County residents alleging they were negligently prescribed pain medication, causing or enabling their addiction, will be able to maintain their lawsuits against pharmacies and doctors that distributed them, West Virginia Supreme Court justices decided.

In a 3-2 decision, written by Chief Justice Margaret Workman, justices decided if a person engaged in criminal activity, a jury will determine the nature, cause and extent that those actions contributed to an alleged injury.

“Without question, our citizenry is best equipped to weigh and speak to our society’s tolerance for the panoply of wrongful conduct presented herein on all sides,” the Wednesday opinion said.

Justices decided that even if a person engages in wrongful conduct, that doesn’t prevent them from recovering from injuries sustained by the illegal activity of another.

“We find untenable the complete vindication of such alleged tortious conduct simply because plaintiff’s conduct may have in some, as-yet-undetermined degree, contributed to his or her injuries. In advocating a wrongful conduct bar, this Court is set with the Hobson’s choice of which conduct we greater prefer to deter ­— the immoral plaintiff or the tortious, perhaps egregiously so, defendant,” the opinion said.

Justices Allen Loughry and Menis Ketchum dissented from the majority saying people shouldn’t be able to profit from their criminal activity through the justice system…

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