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Lawsuit over Greenwich overdose dismissed

September 24, 2018

GREENWICH — A lawsuit filed by the parents of a Greenwich teenager who died of an overdose, against a drug manufacturer, has been dismissed on procedural grounds.

Laurence and Michelle Allen sued the makers of Suboxone, which had been used to treat a previous addiction to painkillers for their son. The lawsuit against Indivior Inc. was filed in the in the United States District Court, Northern District of New York, located in Syracuse.

A judge there ruled recently that the lawsuit was not in the proper venue, and it should have been filed in Connecticut. Judge Brenda K. Sannes dismissed the suit brought by the Allen family.

Bradley Allen was a college student who began taking drugs after a car accident in 2010, and he became hooked on pills. Allen was prescribed Suboxone, a common treatment protocol for opioid addiction. When the Suboxone prescription ran out, according to court papers, Allen acquired heroin and died of an overdose in early 2014.

A lawsuit was filed in early 2017. Laurence Allen declined comment on the lawsuit and the recent dismissal, and he has not provided a rationale why the suit was filed in New York.

In dismissing the case, the federal judge stated “the Court concludes that venue is not proper in this District.”

The judge noted, “The complaint’s only express reference to New York is the allegation that Decedent ‘was a successful college student who was in the midst of an investment banking internship...at a private equity advisement firm located in the State of New York.’ ”

The lawsuit claimed Indivior had demonstrated negligence, liability and a failure to warn patients of the drug’s side effects. The suit was dismissed without delving into any of those issues.

The state of Connecticut has a three-year deadline for products liability claims following death or injury, so the statute of limitations could preclude another lawsuit from being filed.

Lawsuits against big pharmaceutical companies who make pain-reducing medications, brought by state governments and individuals, have been increasing in frequency.

Larry Allen has also worked on other efforts to fight opioid addiction, besides the recent lawsuit. A non-profit organization he founded is promoting a range of initiatives. “Our mission is to save lives of persons with opioid-related addiction and other Complex diseases through a comprehensive approach focused on the development of new medical technologies, faith-based education and public policy,” according to the foundation website.

rmarchant@greenwichtime.com

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