The United States is facing an opioid addiction crisis. Can our civil courts help? This Comment explores obstacles to recovery for plaintiffs in tort suits against health care institutions and practitioners in opioid addiction litigation. It argues that defenses based on plaintiffs’ wrongful conduct, which deny plaintiffs access to civil remedies due to their immoral or illegal conduct, should be eliminated or avoided in suits arising out of addiction. This Comment concludes that comparative fault principles adequately protect the interests of plaintiffs and defendants in drug addiction suits and advance important public policy goals. Finally, this Comment suggests that irrespective of the wrongful conduct rule’s continued usage, our civil courts and legislatures should encourage a broad-reaching settlement agreement between governments and healthcare industry actors as a means of ameliorating the disastrous impacts of the opioid crisis on American society.
Samuel Fresher, Opioid Addiction Litigation and the Wrongful Conduct Rule (2018) 89 University of Colorado Law Review 1311.