State v. Purdue Pharma L.P., 050520 RISUP, PC-2018-4555

Docket Nº:C. A. PC-2018-4555
Opinion Judge:GIBNEY, P.J.
Party Name:STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, by and through PETER NERONHA, Attorney General Plaintiff, v. PURDUE PHARMA L.P.; PURDUE PHARMA INC.; THE PURDUE FREDERICK COMPANY, INC.; RHODES PHARMACEUTICALS L.P.; RHODES TECHNOLOGIES; RHODES TECHNOLOGIES INC.; RICHARD S. SACKLER; TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS USA, INC.; CEPHALON, INC.; MALLINCKRODT PLC; MALLINCKRODT, LLC; SPECG...
Case Date:May 05, 2020
Court:Superior Court of Rhode Island
 
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STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, by and through PETER NERONHA, Attorney General Plaintiff,

v.

PURDUE PHARMA L.P.; PURDUE PHARMA INC.; THE PURDUE FREDERICK COMPANY, INC.; RHODES PHARMACEUTICALS L.P.; RHODES TECHNOLOGIES; RHODES TECHNOLOGIES INC.; RICHARD S. SACKLER; TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS USA, INC.; CEPHALON, INC.; MALLINCKRODT PLC; MALLINCKRODT, LLC; SPECGX, LLC; CARDINAL HEALTH, INC.; MCKESSON CORPORATION d/b/a MCKESSON DRUG COMPANY; and AMERISOURCEBERGEN DRUG CORPORATION, Defendants.

C. A. No. PC-2018-4555

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence

May 5, 2020

DECISION

GIBNEY, P.J.

Before this Court is the State of Rhode Island's (the State) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Motion to Compel Depositions of Defendants Mallinckrodt PLC, Mallinckrodt, LLC, and SpecGX, LLC (collectively, Mallinckrodt). The State seeks this Court to rule that the Distributor Defendants1 and Manufacturer Defendants[2] are subject to four legal duties under both the federal and Rhode Island Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The State further seeks this Court to compel depositions of two Mallinckrodt executives. For the following reasons, the Court denies the State's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and grants the State's Motion to Compel Depositions. Jurisdiction is pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 8-2-14.

I

Facts and Travel

These motions arise from an ongoing action in which the State seeks to recover against Defendants-manufacturers and distributors of opioid pharmaceuticals-for damages allegedly caused by the opioid epidemic. The State filed its original Complaint on June 25, 2018 and filed its Second Amended Complaint (SAC) on December 20, 2019. A complete recitation of the facts underlying this dispute can be found in State v. Purdue Pharma L.P., No. PC-2018-4555, 2018 WL 6074198 (R.I. Super. Nov. 15, 2018).

The State filed its Motion for Partial Summary Judgment pursuant to Super. R. Civ. P. 56(a) on November 4, 2019. The State asks this Court to declare that the Distributor and Manufacturer Defendants are subject to four specified duties under the Federal CSA, 21 U.S.C.A. §§ 821 et seq., and the Rhode Island CSA, G.L. 1956 §§ 21-28-3.01 et seq. The Distributor and Manufacturer Defendants filed their objections on December 18, 2019.

The State filed its Motion to Compel Depositions on January 12, 2020, seeking to make two Mallinckrodt executives-Mark Trudeau, President and CEO of Mallinckrodt PLC, and Matthew Harbaugh, former Senior VP and CFO of Mallinckrodt PLC and former Executive Vice President and President of SpecGX, LLC-available for deposition. Mallinckrodt filed its objection to this motion on January 22, 2020 and moved for a protective order prohibiting the requested depositions. This Court heard argument on both motions on January 24, 2020.

II

Standard of Review

A

Motion for Summary Judgment

'"Summary judgment is a drastic remedy, and a motion for summary judgment should be dealt with cautiously."' DeMaio v. Ciccone, 59 A.3d 125, 129-30 (R.I. 2013) (quoting Estate of Giuliano v. Giuliano, 949 A.2d 386, 390 (R.I. 2008)). As such, "only if the case is legally dead on arrival should the court take the drastic step of administering last rites by granting summary judgment." Mitchell v. Mitchell, 756 A.2d 179, 185 (R.I. 2000). Pursuant to Super. R. Civ. P. 56(a), a party may seek summary judgment on "all or any part" of its claims. This Court will grant summary judgment "when, viewing the facts and all reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the court determines that there are no issues of material fact in dispute, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Delta Airlines, Inc. v. Neary, 785 A.2d 1123, 1126 (R.I. 2001). The moving party bears the initial burden of establishing there are no genuine issues of material fact; the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party, who must put forth a genuine issue of material fact. McGovern v. Bank of America, N.A., 91 A.3d 853, 858 (R.I. 2014). The nonmoving party cannot rest on "mere allegations or denials in the pleadings, mere conclusions or mere legal opinions" to establish a genuine issue of fact. D'Allesandro v. Tarro, 842 A.2d 1063, 1065 (R.I. 2004) (quoting Santucci v...

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