2015 OTP Liability for Patient-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents: A Mock Trial and Focus Group Presentation

Sunday, March 29, 2015
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

James A. Bello, Esq., Morrison Mahoney, Boston, MA
Noel Dumas, Esq., Morrison Mahoney, Boston, MA

The objective of this session is to highlight the risk of Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) liability for patients and third parties who are injured in vehicular accidents arising out of the negligent administration of methadone and/or inadequate counseling or monitoring of continuous illicit drug use. The Mock Trial and Focus Group Presentation are premised upon an actual case brought by an injured patient against an OTP.

Conference participants will be presented with the closing arguments of counsel. The plaintiff’s (injured party) case focuses on “profits over people.” The plaintiff alleges that the clinic failed to implement any meaningful consequences in response to the patient’s continued use of illicit drugs, specifically benzodiazepines. Plaintiff contends that if she was faced with consequences for continued drug use, she would have stopped using benzodiazepines, and the accident would not have occurred. The plaintiff’s case highlights the legal consequences of violating company policies, state regulations and industry standards, and the legal implications of such violations in a court of law.

The defense of the clinic focuses upon the concept of harm reduction and personal responsibility. Despite continuous positive drug screens, the patient made significant progress in the program, with periods of complete abstinence. The defense contends that the clinic cannot be held responsible for the poor decisions of a fully informed, consenting adult. There is also emphasis on the absence of legal “causation”; i.e. evidence that had the consequences been attempted, the patient would have stopped using illicit drugs (and the accident would have been avoided).

The teaching session will focus on the importance of adequate documentation and compliance with policies and regulations. The presenters will show actual video clips from mock trial jury deliberations which reveal laypersons’ thoughts on methadone treatment, the OTP industry, and drug addiction in general.

Sponsored by the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Inc. (AATOD)

 Please go to http://www.aatod.org/national-conference/2015-aatod-conference-atlanta/continuing-education-credit/ for more information on continuing education credits for each section of the website.


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