Prince's estate has dismissed wrongful-death claims against Walgreens pharmacy and a doctor who had prescribed pain medications for the musician before he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl nearly four years ago.
The dismissals, filed in Carver County District Court over the past several months, almost certainly resulted from legal settlements, but no details are available in public filings.
Legal settlements often are predicated on confidentiality. The Associated Press first reported the dismissals Monday. The AP cited a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul who concluded that the dismissals, by agreement between the defendants and plaintiffs, mean it's virtually certain the parties settled.
John Goetz, an attorney representing the trustee of Prince's estate, which remains in probate court, said he couldn't comment on reported settlements.
"All claims were dismissed except the one that remains alive against [Dr. Howard] Kornfeld," Goetz said.
Kornfeld is a physician based in Mill Valley, Calif., who runs a drug-treatment program called Recovery Without Walls. Prince's staff had reached out to him before the musician died on April 21, 2016. Kornfeld sent his son to Minneapolis on short notice to see about treating Prince, but it was already too late. Prince's body was found in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen.
Goetz said the court dismissed a medical negligence claim against Kornfeld and his company in September, ruling that there wasn't sufficient connection between Kornfeld and Minnesota to establish jurisdiction. The estate has appealed.
The Carver County court docket shows that claims were dismissed in August against Walgreens, which had filled prescriptions for Prince, and Trinity Medical Center, an Illinois hospital that treated Prince for an overdose the week before he died. They were followed by dismissals in November of all claims against Dr. Michael Schulenberg, who had prescribed painkillers to an associate of Prince knowing they were actually intended for the musician, and against Schulenberg's former employer, North Memorial Health Care.
The Prince estate's lawsuit questioned whether rescuers and hospital workers in western Illinois did enough after Prince's overdose there to prevent the second one that killed the superstar singer a week later. The suit challenged the actions of a doctor and pharmacist at the hospital on April 15, 2016, when Prince suffered an overdose on a flight home from a concert in Atlanta and needed emergency medical attention. The claims were dismissed in August.
The attorney for the doctor and the hospital, Rodger Hagen, declined to comment Tuesday.
Prince died six days later from an overdose of nonprescription fentanyl.
Pharmacy chain Walgreens was named in the suit because it had dispensed opioid medications in the name of Prince's longtime friend and Paisley Park manager, Kirk Johnson. Walgreens' lawyer said Monday that he wasn't authorized to comment. A company spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Schulenberg, a Twin Cities doctor, earlier had agreed to a $30,000 federal settlement for allegedly prescribing Percocet (not fentanyl) to Prince in Johnson's name. Investigators do not suspect that the doctor had any role in supplying the fentanyl that caused Prince's death.
Paul C. Peterson, Schulenberg's attorney, declined to comment Monday on the state court dismissal. Cecilie M. Loidolt, an attorney for North Memorial Health Care, said she was "not at liberty to discuss the nature of the conclusion" of the lawsuit.
Dan Browning • 612-673-4493