Oral arg. – COA – Aug. 6, 2015

At 10:00 the Court will hear Jeff Cahn et al v. Copac, Inc. et al. 

This is a wrongful death/med mal case against Copac – an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility located in the metro area.  While undergoing treatment at Copac, Ben Cahn died from an overdose of  Buprenorphine (aka suboxone) a medication used to treat opioid addiction.  His family sued Copac as well a doctor and two nurses.

Ben Cahn was admitted on October 7, 2011 at the $10,000 per month facility.  Starting  December 14, 2011, he was very anxious and  swallowed more of his Neurontin medication than his prescription allowed. His parents visited him from Minnesota on December 16 and took him to dinner after which Cahn insisted he did not want to remain at Copac.  It was agreed that Cahn would be placed in the COPAC infirmary for more intense observation.  In the infirmary he had a roommate who managed to escape and return with beer. Cahn and his roommate were running amok on Saturday.  The roommate later admitted that they broke into the doctor’s office looking for drugs.  On Sunday, Cahn was hard to wake to take his meds.  At 10:00 p.m.,  the roommate reported that Cahn was not breathing.  Cahn died from an overdose of suboxone. The trial court granted summary judgment pursuant to the Price v. Purdue Pharma wrongful conduct rule.  In Price, the plaintiff sued claiming he was harmed from oxycontin.  The Court held that he was not entitled to relief inasmuch as he engaged in  doctor shopping to obtain excessive amounts of oxycontin.  His wrongful conduct was an essential cause of his injury.

Cahn’s brief

Copac’s brief

Dr. Gordon’s brief

Cahn’s rebuttal brief

Watch the argument here.

I can’t imagine how this case won’t be reversed. At the very least, Copac should have noticed that one of their patients was dying from an overdose and rendered emergency aid.

At 1:30 the Court will hear James Johnson v. State 

Johnson was convicted of one count of domestic violence for strangling his ex-wife. He was sentenced to 20 years with ten suspended.  Johnson claimed his ex-wife was the initial aggressor.  At  trial the state was allowed to introduce evidence of past domestic violence incidents involving four different victims. On appeal, Johnson argues that this violated MRE 404(b).

Johnson’s brief. 

State’s brief

Johnson’s brief 

Watch the argument here

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