Prince's Family Files Opioid Lawsuit

By George Khoury, Esq. on September 04, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

While the passing of Prince Roger Nelson was profoundly felt by his fans, his family is still seeking answers about the superstar's death.

Prince's family recently filed a lawsuit against the late star's doctor due to an alleged failure in the standard of care that failed to recognize, treat and/or counsel Prince for opioid addiction. And though there were no criminal charges brought against the doctor, the family's lawsuit clearly states allegations that Prince's doctor took no steps to prevent Prince's foreseeable death as a result of opioid addiction.

Guarding Drugs

Notably, the lawsuit comes a few months after the doctor, Michael Schulenberg, settled civil allegations, paying a fine of $30,000, for prescribing drugs to Prince's longtime friend and bodyguard Kirk Johnson, that the doctor knew were meant for Prince. After his death, pill bottles with Johnson's name were found. However, the pills prescribed to Johnson were oxycodone, while the star's death was linked to fentanyl.

Dr. Schulenberg isn't the long target of the lawsuit. The case names the Iowa Health System, UnityPoint Health, North Memorial Healthcare, and even Walgreens, as all had a part in failing to help the artist with his opioid addiction.

Opioid Standard of Care

Although much of the recent opioid-related litigation focuses on the pharmaceutical industry's knowledge of the dangers, this case points out that it is often the doctors and health systems that fail to live up to the standard of care issued by the CDC for prescribing opioids.This case puts the red flags that the star exhibited center stage. It details the many contacts between Prince and his doctors, and questions why nothing was done to counsel or treat his addiction problems at any of those times.

An attorney for Dr. Schulenberg explained that the doctor stands by the care he provided and intends to fight the case.

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