Opioid ruling too broad: West Virginia Supreme Court

The West Virginia Supreme Court docket explained Monday a lessen court’s get prohibiting insurers from pursuing litigation against an opioid pharmaceutical distributor in other states was overly broad.

In 2012, West Virginia’s legal professional general submitted a lawsuit against Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., a wholesale distributor of prescription opioid treatment in West Virginia, in search of to keep it liable for the prescription opioid epidemic in the condition, in accordance to the ruling in St. Paul Hearth and Marine Insurance policy Co. v. AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. et. al.

Right after that litigation was settled, numerous other plaintiffs named ABDC as defendants in as numerous as 165 equivalent lawsuits in West Virginia courts, according to the ruling.

The circumstance just before the point out Supreme Court derived from ABDC’s endeavours to set up it has protection beneath key, umbrella and excess industrial common liability insurance policies it experienced acquired, the ruling explained.

In March 2017, it filed a complaint from five insurance policies firms trying to find to create coverage below 16 policies issued concerning 2007 and 2013, the ruling said.

In November 2020, one of the insurers, St. Paul, submitted a competing insurance coverage coverage motion in California condition court from ABDC and its corporate subsidiaries in search of a ruling it experienced no responsibility to defend or indemnify the enterprise.

Later on that month, ABDC filed a movement with the West Virginia circuit court seeking an “anti-accommodate injunction” enjoining St. Paul and all other parties to the lawsuit from proceeding with the California lawsuit.

In the interim, the circuit court issued an buy discovering that there was insurance protection out there to ABDC beneath St. Paul’s coverage.

In January, the circuit court granted ABDC’s motion for an anti-fit injunction that prevented all events for pursuing collateral insurance litigation involving the firm in California or somewhere else.

In overturning that ruling on appeal, the Supreme Court docket said although West Virginia law permits its courts to enjoin parallel circumstances in other states’ courts, the decrease court’s ruling was overly wide.

The order “enjoins all get-togethers to the West Virginia action from instituting or prosecuting any authorized proceeding relating to ABC’s coverage coverage.

“Our concern is that ABDC’s West Virginia criticism is constrained in scope and seeks a declaratory judgment concerning only sixteen insurance plan policies by five insurance plan corporations,” it reported.

The circuit court’s get “impairs the parties’ means to litigate against just about every other or with third functions, about policies separate from the sixteen insurance policies identified by ABDC,” the ruling explained, in reversing the reduced court and remanding the case for more proceedings.

Lawyers in the circumstance did not react to requests for remark.






Christopher Lewis

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