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Physician Liability for Opioid Addiction and Death: Claims and Defenses

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will concentrate on the link between the national opioid epidemic and the resulting litigation. Manufacturers, prescribing doctors, dispensing pharmacists, and corporations involved have all been the targets of litigation. Counsel must be prepared, in today's environment, to address these issues from the perspectives of both plaintiffs and defendants.


According to the CDC, "on average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose," to say nothing of nonfatal overdoses and the toll that opioid addiction takes on individuals, families, and communities. Americans are looking to the courts for redress.

Through class actions, some aim at the manufacturers and marketers of these drugs, while others pursue the prescribing doctors and even the dispensing pharmacies. These suits allege, among other things, that the physician should not have prescribed the drugs, the provider overprescribed the drug, and the provider failed to monitor the patient after the prescription.

Prescribing a drug that ultimately has adverse consequences for the patient is not of itself medical malpractice. Instead, the plaintiff must show that the healthcare practitioner failed to meet applicable standards of care. Practitioners can, in these cases, defend against such claims by disclosing the risks upfront.

Listen as this panel of plaintiff and defense attorneys discusses the particular nuances and challenges of litigating claims that relate to this national tragedy. In addition to discussing elements of proof and defense, the panel will review insurance issues and the impact of events outside individual cases.



  1. Who is affected?
    1. Patients
    2. Families
    3. Payors (insurers, public benefits)
  2. Who is responsible?
    1. Doctors
    2. Pharmacies
    3. Manufacturers
  3. The medical malpractice case
    1. Elements and proof of claim
    2. Elements and proof of defense
  4. Insurance issues
  5. Other litigation


The panel will review these and other relevant matters:

  • What are the legal avenues available to those affected by opioid addiction and death?
  • How counsel can approach the defense of parties perceived to be part of the problem?
  • How do issues outside of a court proceeding, such as insurance and other pursuits of responsible parties, affect suits?


Fenton, Benjamin
Benjamin J. Fenton

Fenton Law Group

Mr. Fenton advises and represents healthcare providers and entities in healthcare business disputes, hospital peer...  |  Read More

Hazi, Andrew
Andrew C. Hazi

Burns White

Mr. Hazi primarily defends individual professionals, and long-term care and acute care facilities in medical...  |  Read More

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