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Opioid Judgment: West Virginia Supreme Court



The West Virginia Supreme Court said on Monday that a lower court decision banning insurers from litigating a distributor of opioid drugs in other states was too extensive.

. AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., a wholesale distributor of prescription opioid drugs in West Virginia, is seeking to hold the company accountable for the prescription opioid epidemic in the state, according to the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. v. AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. et.

Following the outcome of the litigation, many other plaintiffs named the ABDC as defendants in as many as 165 similar lawsuits in West Virginia courts, according to the judgment.

The case before the state supreme court stemmed from ABDC's efforts to establish that it has coverage under primary, umbrella and surplus commercial liability policies that it had purchased, the ruling said.

In March 201

7, a complaint was filed against five insurance companies that tried to establish coverage under 16 insurances issued between 2007 and 2013, the ruling said.

In November 2020, one of the insurers, St. Paul, filed a competing insurance coverage in the California State Court against ABDC and its affiliates to seek a decision that had no obligation to defend or indemnify the company.

Later that month, ABDC filed a motion in West Virginia District Court seeking a " anti-suit injunction "which imposed St. Paul and all other parties to the trial continue with the lawsuit in California. Paul's policy.

In January, the district court granted the ABDC's request for an anti-litigation injunction preventing all parties from pursuing insurance disputes involving the Company in California or elsewhere.

By annulling that decision on appeal, the Supreme Court said while the law of West Virginia allows its courts to impose parallel cases in the courts of other states, the lower court's judgment was too broad.

The decision "appoints all parties in the West Virginia action to initiate or prosecute all legal proceedings regarding ABC's insurance coverage [0296] 5. Our concern is that ABDC's West Virginia complaint is limited in scope and seeks a declaratory judgment concerning only sixteen insurances from five insurance companies, "it said. [19659] 002] The district court's decision" impairs the parties' ability to bring legal action against each other or with third parties, over policies that are separate from the sixteen policies identified by ABDC, "the ruling said. , by referring to the lower court and referring the case back to further proceedings.

Lawyers in the case did not respond to a request for comment.

[19659002]


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