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Sep-07-2013 20:19printcomments

Why Did Purdue Pharma Miss Court Deadline in Kentucky Lawsuit?

The Kentucky lawsuit against Purdue Pharma deals with the marketing of the narcotic OxyContin to physicians in Kentucky and whether the company masked the addictive properties of the painkiller.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway

(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) - Purdue Pharma, the maker of the deadly drug OxyContin, missed a recent court deadline in the six-year lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Kentucky -- and word has it that this legal maneuver could cost the drug maker in a big way.

I'm not so sure. Could Purdue Pharma have not met the court deadline intentionally? You decide.

In the beginning of August the Office of Attorney General Jack Conway submitted its filings requesting evidence in their lawsuit against the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company. Purdue Pharma was to respond to that motion to produce evidence, but their attorneys missed the deadline.

So Pike County Circuit Court Judge Steven Combs stated “They (Purdue Pharma) failed to timely answer those requests for admissions…" Attorney General Conway jumped on Purdue Pharma's non-compliance by stating “... and so they’ve been deemed admitted which puts us in a position that liability is basically established. We’re on to the issue of damages.” Conway went on to say that attorneys for Purdue Pharma asking for a "rehearing" would not likely receive it.

The Kentucky lawsuit against Purdue Pharma deals with the marketing of the narcotic OxyContin to physicians in Kentucky and whether the company masked the addictive properties of the painkiller.

AG Conway did not initiate the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma. Gregg Stumbo, who is now Speaker of the House, worked for four years as attorney general to find a strategy to bring down Purdue Pharma who he called “corporate perpetrators."

“I hope that they are required to pay for every person – every family that they affected in Kentucky by their tortuous conduct. And that would be a huge amount of money,” Stumbo said. “Money won’t solve it. Money won’t bring those dead family members back. Money won’t erase all of the tears that mothers and family members have cried for people with addictions caused by Purdue Pharma’s actions, but that’s the only way we can really bring them to some form of justice is to hit them where it hurts – the pocketbook.”

Conway replaced Attorney General Stumbo, but is Conway going to deliver justice to the tens of thousands of family members fractured by loss of loved ones to addiction and death -- or is Conway a sheep in wolf clothing?

In 2009, I had written about AG Conway accepting a check in the amount of $50,000 from an organization called National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) funded by Purdue Pharma. I had questioned how Conway could accept a check from a group backed by the pharmaceutical company his state was suing. Smell? You bet it does.

I was threatened with "witness tampering" by a Kentucky Deputy Attorney General after my article was published. Ludicrous or intimidating? It certainly didn't intimidate me since the case wasn't even on a court calendar in 2009 and therefore there was no jury selection scheduled in the near future.

I was just curious about what would happen during a court proceeding when Purdue Pharma's high paid attorneys got up in court and said -- "If we're so bad, why did your Attorney General accept a $50,000 check from one of our organizations?" I guess the Deputy Attorney General failed the course in law school on "How not to bully." In all fairness, the Deputy AG did stammer that he didn't mean to use the words "jury tampering" when I stated that Purdue Pharma had a good laugh at the expense of every OxyContin victim and their families by having Attorney General Conway accept a check directly from NADDI and indirectly from Purdue Pharma.

In October 2010 I wrote an article regarding Jack Conway's response to his accepting a $50,000 check from an organization funded by the company his state was suing, Purdue Pharma.

In response, Attorney General Conway said that he was well informed regarding the funding issue. Conway said many of these grants are funded in part by the pharmaceutical industry. Conway responded emphatically, "The only issue is the budget. With the budget cuts we have and continue to face I'm not concerned that a part of the grant money comes from the industry." Conway continued on by saying that when he takes this money and puts it to good use to help in the fight against drugs and crime then he is going to continue to do so. Pretty much said it all -- Conway had no problem taking money from convicted criminals -- and used the excuse of putting it to good use to help in the fight against drugs and crime in Kentucky and, of course, the lame budget issue. I still had a problem with it. The top law enforcement official of a state should not be taking money from criminals and excusing himself because of a budget -- especially when his state was suing the criminals. The families of victims of OxyContin in Kentucky who lost loved ones to death and addiction may not share Conway's reasons for "dancing with the devil" and taking money from Purdue Pharma.

Then there is the saga of AG Attorney Conway's brother, Matthew Conway - a prosecuting attorney for Jefferson Township being under investigation not once but twice for possible drug use or drug trafficking -- but more about that another time.

So I will close with a question -- Does anyone really think that Purdue Pharma, a $13 billion pharmaceutical company with high profile attorneys missed a court filing date? I don't buy it for a minute. What I buy is that it was intentional so they could settle the case without the dirty laundry being aired -- from the Attorney General's office. The victims of OxyContin and their families in Kentucky deserve better -- much better.

LP - Ahh our paths always twist and turn which makes life interesting and fun. Love that we both enjoy the journey and support and love each other.

Marianne Skolek
Investigative Reporter for on drug epidemic

_______________________________________ Investigative Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.


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karen gravina September 19, 2013 9:27 pm (Pacific time)

I was wondering why this lawsuit was taking so long and what was going on. I noticed on Organic Bytes that it was Rep Hal Rogers, who slipped the Monsanto Protection Act into the Farm Assurance Bill. It would seem he's an unlikely source of help to victims of oxycontin,including the children left in the wake. CREW'S voted him one of the 10 most corrupt congressmen in America 5 times.

Patsy Barnett September 13, 2013 7:37 am (Pacific time)

I read an article about some states (California in particular) requesting a list of doctors who have "Risky Perscribing habits" from Purdue Pharma. Has Kentucky done this, and if not how would one go about making that happen?

Mary D'Eramo September 8, 2013 6:15 am (Pacific time)

I read and love all your articles and appreciate your hard work. I hope you will be at the FedUp Rally in Washington on Oct 1. I would like to shake your hand. I will be holding a picture of my daughter. How she and others in her high school graduating class got their hands on a medication meant for end of life care...its a thing that should never have been. It took her and our family down some long long roads where we never thought we would travel. Today, 12 years later, they are either dead, still chasing it or are in recovery. I'm happy to say my daughter is in recovery. I know how blessed I am.

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