Opinion

Troubling decision from W.Va. Supreme Court

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In its seemingly never-ending campaign to make this state as friendly to plaintiffs’ lawyers as possible, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals last week issued a baffling decision with implications for the state’s struggle against prescription drug abuse.

In a 3-2 decision written by Chief Justice Margaret Workman and joined by Justices Brent Benjamin and Robin Davis, the court held that drug abusers who admit they committed criminal conduct as part of their efforts to illegally obtain prescription drugs can sue the doctors and pharmacies that gave them those drugs.

That includes cases where people were already addicted before they were in the care of the health care providers, and where they actively concealed their addictions from the doctors and pharmacies.

“In a state where drug abuse is so prevalent and where its devastating effects are routinely seen in cases brought before this Court,” wrote Justice Allen Loughry in a forceful dissent, “it is simply unconscionable to me that the majority would permit admitted criminal drug abusers to manipulate our justice system to obtain monetary damages to further fund their abuse and addiction.”

It looks even more unconscionable in light of the money that could be at stake and the interests that stand to profit…

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