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Berkshire is not required to defend doctors in the event of opioid death



A Berkshire Hathaway Inc. entity is not liable to defend or injure a Nevada physician under his professional liability policy in a wrongful death application filed in connection with a judge's opioid-related death because he had committed an "intentional violation" of the law , a federal appeals court said Wednesday in confirming a lower court decision.

Dr. Steven A. Holper pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 41 months in prison in July 2019 for illegally prescribing addictive opioids including fentanyl, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Diana Hampton, who was Chief Justice in the city of Henderson, Nevada. , was found dead in March 2016. Her death was inadvertently convicted and related to fentanyl "intoxication", according to legal documents in National Fire & Marine Insurance Co. v. Scott Hampton et. al and Steven A Holper . Dr. Holper had prescribed the drug to Judge Hampton without a prescription, according to court documents.

Judge Hampton's property filed a wrongful death claim against Dr. Holper at the Nevada State Court.

The Berkshire Hathaway National Fire filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, seeking a declaration that it had no obligation to defend or harm Dr. Holper in the $ 1

million professional liability lawsuit.

The U.S. District Court in Las Vegas ruled in favor of the insurer, and was upheld by a unanimous panel of three judges.

The language of the doctor's professional liability insurance policy excludes "obvious and unambiguous coverage" for "any intentional violation of laws, statutes or ordinances", the decision states.

The exclusion "clearly applies to this case", the panel said.

Because of this, the district court "National Fire" properly relieved him of his obligation to defend and injure Holper in the wrongful death, the panel said. , by confirming the decision of the lower court.

Lawyers in the case had no comment or could not be reached.

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