As far as the plaintiffs are concerned in the massive Glynn County opioid lawsuit, Charles Robert Lott and the former City Drug’s position as a defendant is over. However, that’s just one moving part in a case that’s set for a hearing in the state Supreme Court.
Cardinal Health and McKesson, two of the major opioid distributors sued, accused the plaintiffs earlier this year of working out a corrupt bargain with Lott in which he would refuse to go along with moving the case to federal court and they would go easy on him in a settlement, and not tell Cardinal and McKesson about it until after the federal hearing on whether to send the case back to superior court.
However, the agreement was announced in federal court before the remand hearing, even though counsel for the defense claims he wasn’t aware of the verbal announcement.
There was no official settlement filing before the remand hearing, however, and the court dismissed the allegations. The plaintiffs filed entry of the consent judgment between the plaintiffs and Lott on Thursday, and filed the details the following Monday.
According to the judgment, Lott is to pay the plaintiffs $1,000, is enjoined from seeking a Georgia pharmacy license, has to make available to plaintiffs all documents related to controlled substances and cooperate with the plaintiffs regarding obtaining information on controlled substances.
Earlier in October, the superior court granted a motion by the defendants for immediate appellate review of their motions to dismiss, which Judge Roger Lane denied in an earlier ruling. In his certificate for review, Lane states the court “found the matters presented by such motions to dismiss and the resulting order denying defendants’ motions are of such importance to this case that immediate review should be had by the Georgia Court of Appeals….”
Monday, the same day Lott’s consent judgement went through, the state Court of Appeals sent the matter up the chain to the state Supreme Court for further consideration.
“The defendants argued, among other things, that the (state Drug Dealer Liability Act) was unconstitutional,” the court stated. “The trial court found the act to be constitutionally sound and denied the motions to dismiss. The defendants seek interlocutory review of this ruling.
“The Supreme Court ‘has exclusive jurisdiction over all cases involving construction of the Constitution of the State of Georgia and of the United States and all cases in which the constitutionality of a law, ordinance or constitutional provision has been called into question.’ … Because defendants raised a constitutional challenge, which the trial court expressly ruled upon, jurisdiction over this application appears to lie in the Supreme Court.”
The case is slated for the March 2020 calendar, but there is no set oral argument date at present.