HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Oxycontin Lawsuit Sent Back to State
Pubdate: Tue, 12 Nov 2002
Source: Bristol Herald Courier (VA)
Copyright: 2002 Bristol Herald Courier
Author: Andrea Hopkins
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)


ABINGDON -- A federal judge has ordered a lawsuit related to the marketing
and prescription of OxyContin sent back to a state courtroom for trial. The
lawsuit, filed by Shelby and Harold Cordill of Tazewell County, was one of
two pending in U.S. District Court in Abingdon over the potent narcotic

But in a written ruling last week, U.S. District Court Judge James Jones
sent the case back to Tazewell County Circuit Court for trial. Jones had
taken the matter under advisement after a hearing in September.

The Cordills had asked the judge to move the case back to their home county,
but the drug's maker, Purdue Pharma, and a number of related companies, had
fought to keep the action in federal court.

Purdue had successfully fought to keep an unrelated lawsuit over OxyContin
from being returned to Lee County Circuit Court for trial earlier this year.

In the Cordills' case, the judge agreed to remand the matter because he
found that they had properly sued a doctor and medical clinic based in
Virginia. Without those defendants, the case could not have moved forward in
state court, because the drug companies are headquartered elsewhere.

The Virginia defendants were Dr. Jamal Sahyouni, a Richlands doctor who
prescribed OxyContin to the Cordills, and Clinch Valley Physicians, which
runs the medical clinic where Sahyouni works.

"I find that the motion for judgment, while far from a model of legal
draftsmanship adequately states a claim of action under Virginia law," Jones

The Cordills are seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in
punitive damages from each of the defendants. They claim that they became
addicted to OxyContin because Sahyouni overprescribed it and the drug
companies marketed it without regard to its risks.

Another lawsuit against the makers of OxyContin remains in federal court. In
that case, one of the drug companies, Abbott Laboratories, is asking the
judge to drop it from the litigation.

Abbott claimed that it did not market OxyContin to consumers or primary care
physicians and was wrongly named in the suit. That matter is still in the
hands of the judge.

That lawsuit was originally filed in Lee County Circuit Court by a group of
Southwest Virginia residents and is set for trial before Judge Jones late
next year.

OxyContin is a potent, time-released version of the narcotic painkiller
oxycodone. It is intended to treat chronic, severe pain, but addicts crush
it and inject or snort it to defeat the time-release feature and get a
heroin-like high.

It has been linked to a number of deaths in Southwest Virginia and elsewhere
in the nation, authorities have said.
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