After investigators announced there would be no criminal charges in the death of Prince, the singer’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an Illinois hospital that treated Prince a week before his death as well as pharmacy chain Walgreens.
The lawsuit contends that Moline, Illinois hospital Trinity Medical Center – which briefly treated Prince in April 2016 after an overdose forced the singer’s plane to make an emergency landing – failed to appropriately investigate and treat Prince’s overdose, the Minnesota Star Tribune reports, which had a “direct and proximate cause” on Prince’s death.
The estate also accuses Trinity Medical Center doctor Nicole Mancha and a Jane Doe employee, both named in the lawsuit, of misidentifying the pill Prince had taken prior to his overdose. While the pill had the markings of a hydrocodone – a pill with the inscription Watson 853 – investigators later discovered the pill was actually counterfeit and contained fentanyl.
On Thursday, Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announced that their two-year investigation into Prince’s death “determined that Prince died from taking a counterfeit Vicodin pill that contained Fentanyl, a dangerously powerful opioid.” However, because investigators were unable to determine how the singer obtained the counterfeit pills – and whether those same pills played a role in his death – “we simply do not have sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime related to Prince’s death.”
The wrongful death lawsuit argues that had Trinity Medical Center conducted a wider spectrum of tests on the pill, they would have determined it was counterfeit. Investigators and those close to Prince believe the singer didn’t know he was taking the powerful opioid Fentanyl at the time of his death.
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A representative for Trinity Medical Center told the New York Times that the hospital does not comment on pending legal matters. Walgreens had not commented on the lawsuit at press time.
The Prince family lawsuit also accuses two Walgreens locations in Minnesota of “dispensing narcotic prescription medications” to the singer for an invalid medical purpose, the New York Times reports.
“We will have much to say when the time is right,” attorney John Goetz, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Prince’s family, said in a statement. “We have client interests to protect at the moment, including our theory of the case. What happened to Prince is happening to families across America. Prince’s family wishes, through its investigation, to shed additional light on what happened to Prince. At the same time, further light on the opiate epidemic will hopefully help the fight to save lives. If Prince’s death helps save lives, then all was not lost.”