MINNEAPOLIS – The family of the deceased rock star Prince challenges a doctor who prescribed painkillers for him, because the doctor has not treated him for opiate addiction and therefore, two years ago, bears the responsibility for his death, their lawyer announced Friday.
Prince Rogers Nelson died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl on April 15, 2016. According to the authorities, Dr. Michael Schulenberg admitted that he proposed another opioid to him in the days prior to his death, oxycodone, under the name of his bodyguard to protect the privacy of the musician. Schulenberg has disputed that, although he paid $ 30,000 to settle a federal civil claim claiming that the drug was being illegally prescribed.
The lawsuit filed this week in the district court of Hennepin claims that Schulenberg and others & # 39; in the weeks prior to the death of Prince & # 39; had the opportunity to diagnose and treat Prince's opioid addiction and prevent his death. & # 39;
According to the complaint, which was first reported by ABC News.com, the Prince family is seeking an unspecified compensation of more than $ 50,000.
A lawyer from Prince's six surviving brothers and sisters said Friday that the new lawsuit will eventually replace a lawsuit that they filed in Illinois in April to defeat a legal deadline. A week before he died, Prince lost consciousness on a flight home after playing a concert in Atlanta. The plane made an emergency stop in Moline, Illinois, where he was revived at the Trinity Medical Center with a drug that reverses overdoses of opioids.
"Prince lived in Minnesota all his life and died here, so we always thought that his family's lawsuit belonged in Minnesota," lawyer John Goetz said in a statement. He said that they now have sufficient legal grounds to continue the lawsuit in Prince & # 39; s home state.
Schulenberg's lawyer, Paul Peterson, said on Friday that they believe the trial has no merit.
"We understand that this situation has been difficult for everyone close to Mr. Nelson and his fans around the world," he said in a statement. & # 39; Whatever the case, Dr. Schulenberg supports the care that Mr. Nelson has received, we want to defend this case. & # 39;
The authorities say Prince probably did not know that he was taking the dangerous drug fentanyl when he took fake pills that had been smeared with fentanyl and that looked like a generic version of the painkiller Vicodin. The source of these pills is unknown and no one has been indicted in Prince & # 39; s death.
The lawsuit also mentions North Memorial Health Care, where Schulenberg worked at that time; UnityPoint Health, which runs the hospital in Moline; and Walgreens Co., which operates two drug stores where Prince has filled in his recipes. The earlier proceedings mentioned only UnityPoint and Walgreens.
North Memorial said in a statement that it is also behind the care that Prince received. UnityPoint spokeswoman Vickie Parry said they can not comment on pending disputes. Walgreens has not immediately returned a message that is looking for comments.
"The Minnesota trial is against all parties that we believe have legal responsibility for Prince's death, but it is possible that we identify and add other parties as we move on," Goetz said.