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The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has decided that an insurer is not obligated to defend or indemnity a Nevada doctor under his professional liability policy in a wrongful death suit involving a judge’s opioid-related death. The case is National Fire & Marine Insurance Company v. Scott Hampton, 2:18-cv-01338-JCM-BNW.

Chief judge of the City of Henderson, Nevada, Diana Hampton, was found dead in March 2016. Her death was ruled accidental and related to fentanyl “intoxication.” Dr. Steven Holper had prescribed the drug to Judge Hampton unlawfully, without a prescription. According to court papers, Holper later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than forty months in prison for unlawfully prescribing addictive opioids, including fentanyl. His plea agreement stated that Holper intentionally distributed fentanyl “outside the usual course of his professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.”

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