Financially attempting to taking out one chain pharmacy at a time over the opiate crisis

Delaware top court says Rite Aid can’t get insurance coverage for opioid cases

  • Delaware Supreme Court rules for Chubb in coverage lawsuit by Rite Aid
  • Court says Rite Aid only entitled to coverage in personal injury cases

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The Delaware Supreme Court on Monday ruled that insurance company Chubb Ltd is not required to provide coverage and defend Rite Aid Corp in lawsuits accusing the pharmacy chain operator of fueling the opioid epidemic.

The ruling came in one of several disputes nationwide involving pharmaceutical companies, drug distributors and pharmacies suing insurers in order to recoup the costs of defending against and settling thousands of opioid lawsuits.

A lower-court judge in 2020 found that various Chubb subsidiaries were required to defend Rite Aid against bellwether lawsuits by two Ohio counties in the federal multidistrict litigation over the epidemic.

But Delaware’s top court reversed, concluding that policies covering personal injury cases did not require Chubb to defend Rite Aid against lawsuits seeking only economic damages.

Rite Aid and its lawyer, Gerald Konkel of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, did not respond to requests for comment. Chubb and its lawyers, including Jonathan Hacker of O’Melveny & Myers, had no comment.

More than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed nationally by largely state and local governments seeking to hold the companies responsible for an opioid abuse crisis that has led to hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths.

The lawsuits accuse Rite Aid of negligently distributing addictive prescription pain pills. The company denies wrongdoing, and in 2019 sued Chubb to recover the costs of its defense and future settlements.

In Monday’s ruling, Chief Justice Collins Seitz, said that for Rite Aid to receive coverage, the lawsuits needed to be brought by people injured by opioids – individuals suing on their own behalf or anyone who cared for or treated them.

But in the case of Ohio’s Summit and Cuyahoga counties, which brought opioid claims similar to other local governments, they specifically said they were not seeking recovery for any residents’ personal injuries, Seitz said.

They instead sued to recover for injuries the counties suffered by being saddled with the economic burden of higher demands for medical treatment and impacts on their criminal justice systems, Seitz wrote for the 4-1 court.

“This claim is not directed to an individual injury but to a public health crisis,” Seitz said.

Justice James Vaughn dissented, saying Chubb’s policy language should be interpreted broadly to cover all damages an organization could bring against Rite Aid for the care, loss of services or death of someone due to opioid addiction.

The case is ACE American Insurance Co, v. Rite Aid Corp, Delaware Supreme Court, No. N19C-04-150.

For Chubb: Jonathan Hacker of O’Melveny & Myers

For Rite Aid: Gerald Konkel of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Read more:

State supreme court overturns broad bar against insurers suing over opioid coverage

Pharmacy chains including CVS helped fuel opioid epidemic, U.S. jury finds

4 Responses

  1. “This claim is not directed to an individual injury but to a public health crisis,” Seitz said. MEANING;
    “This claim is not directed to an individual injury (‘so no abandoned pain sufferer or unjustly persecuted doctor may slip in’) but to a public health crisis (‘where the big money is for me to get a slice via a bribe’),” Seitz said.

  2. We need judges on this as was in Oklahoma and California trials on pharmaceutical companies. Judges with common sense to see the lies.
    Hell Walgreens in FL already paid for this crap I think it was 2012.

  3. In this there is still BIG money for certain individuals in the DOJ and those like them who are willing to be easily misinformed, then lie and abandon pain patients.
    Too bad this whole unjust processes is not noticed as the same money grab operated by the same actors in ‘health care’, the CDC and politicians for the piddly little Corona virus for which we should have done nothing.
    There is no love, except for money, no matter how dirty it is.

  4. It’s another mechanism with which they can control and restrict patients from filling valid prescriptions for pain medication, written by licensed physicians for proper treatment of legitimate conditions that are medically accepted to be painful, one entity at a time. They seem to view this situation as a colander, where all of the holes that might allow patients in pain to fill medications that they’ve been properly and appropriately authorized receive, need to be filled in. Stopgap measures, if you will. They’ve found that the other methods they’ve attempted to use, CDC’s guidelines, threat of incarceration, forced tapers, etc., didn’t quite pack the intended punch, so they’ve taken it a step farther. It’s my opinion that the original line of thought was probably that the entirety of the pain patient population would be funneled straight into addiction treatment or at very least, forced onto addiction medications, so they’ve fallen back on Plan B.

    Since they can’t stop every doctor from prescribing under threat of incarceration, they’ll create a situation where it is literally impossible to actually fill opioid medications. Even if a patient is written a valid, legitimate prescription, they won’t be able to fill it due to pharmacy denials, insurance denials (including prohibition of cash payments for controlled substances if an individual is insured by an entity that refuses to cover it over alleged high risk of diversion), repeated financial blows to manufacturers and anyone else in the supply chain, legally assailing pain clinics and physicians out of the business of adequately treating pain, DEA mandated production quotas dwindling supply, vilifying pain patients as strongly suspected sources for diversion, committing to go the distance no matter what that might entail and if that doesn’t illuminate the bigger picture well enough for some folks, I’ve no idea what would.

    I fail to understand how there is so little actual comprehension of what is transpiring here when it comes to our elected officials who should be questioning these efforts in the interest of the human rights of the citizens of this country, some of these cast ballots for these people during the election process. It would seem that no one wants to appear out of step with the majority who believe that this is about an opioid epidemic that started in the doctor’s office. Or perhaps they believe only a certain portion of the population deserves the protections and rights that this country stands on.

    The right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, to name one. Pain patients are consistently denied this right when it comes to the current hysteria surrounding opioids. To be completely honest, what we are facing is no different than being held as guilty for something that the vast majority of us haven’t done, without even being provided the right of being able to prove oneself innocent. It’s not that hard to understand when you consider the fact that, while they push for treatment option for those with SUD, including broadening access to addiction medications, chronic pain patients are virtually informed that we have to wait until they find ‘alternative’ methods and means with which to treat us and leaving us to suffer in the interim. Even when there is already an adequate means that we could be utilized while they zealously search through the mad scientist’s scrapbook for methods that they can subject us to, that may or may NOT do more harm than good.

    They’re harming us to save us. They’re killing us to prevent a treatable condition that has never been evidenced to be an issue with the majority. They’re encouraging anyone and everyone that could help, to leave us to suffer under the guise of keeping us safe. So some of us will not see tomorrow due to the effects and impacts of being left in untreated or under treated pain, but we can be assured with all confidence that at least we will never become addicted!! If people can’t comprehend the absolute lunacy behind that ideology, they’re either willfully ignorant or inhumanely cruel. It isn’t rocket science. It isn’t even hidden from view anymore. It’s right out there in front of everyone, under their noses, masquerading as doing the right thing for the greater good. However as chronic pain patients, we have to assume that must mean that we are lesser than, because we obviously are not part of the ‘greater’ portion of that statement.

    We are not addicts. We are not deplorables. We are not liars. We are not hypochondriacs. We are not medical malingerers. We are not drug dealers. We are not 2nd class citizens. We are not throwaways. We are not worth less (or worthless). We are not ignorant. We are not going to go away. We are not buying the BS. We are not going to be quiet. We are not going to die off. We are not going to make it easy. We are not stupid. We are not going to stop until we make sure that it’s been exposed and corrected. Because we deserve the same rights as anyone else enjoys in this country.

    We deserve HUMAN RIGHTS. We deserve HUMAN DECENCY. We deserve to be treated with the same dignity, respect, consideration, courtesy, empathy, compassion and measure of integrity, as any other individual that calls this nation home. We deserve to be seen as we are and instead of as we have been made out to be. We have valuable experiential data in the form of lived experience that we could, and by all rights SHOULD, be allowed to contribute to the conversations surrounding our own care, because we live in the thick of it every single day. We also have the right to be treated as individuals. It’s well known that you can’t treat any other group of patients with the exact same methods every single time and that there are many elements and factors that are unique to the individual that require careful consideration. Chronic pain patients are no different.

    The first thing that needs to happen is that anyone who thinks that they somehow know better what we live with, what will/will not work for us individually, how much pain we are in at any given time or anything along those.lines, needs to just stop. Because science says that’s not possible. It’s not possible for them to know this without even speaking to us on an individual basis and giving us the ability to relate our personal experiences with pain. Doctors can’t legally treat people that they haven’t examined with good reason, so why would it be okay for these purported experts to do so? No, this has got to change. Common sense, logic, rationality, sound reasoning, unbiased consideration, these things must prevail. We will make sure of it, because our lives and the lives of those to come after us depend upon it. We deserve to have some semblance of a normal life. That isn’t too much to ask.

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