Prince's Estate Quietly Dismisses Wrongful-Death Claims - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

Prince Rogers Nelson’s family have quietly dismissed wrongful-death claims against a Walgreens pharmacy and the doctor who had prescribed pain medications for the musician before he died, according to The Star Tribune.

Prince was 57 when he died of an accidental fentanyl overdose on April 21, 2016. The singer didn’t have a will and no one has been criminally charged in his death and supposedly no one knows how the singer was able to get his hands on the counterfeit pills that killed him.

Amid speculation that the previous suits were settled, John Goetz, the attorney representing the trustee of Prince’s estate, revealed he couldn’t comment on those reported settlements. “All claims were dismissed except the one that remains alive against [Dr. Howard] Kornfeld,” Goetz told The Star Tribune.

Goetz said the court has 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.

Kornfeld is a Mill Valley, California-based doctor who runs a drug-treatment program called Recovery Without Walls. Prince’s staff reached out to Kornfeld before he died and Kornfeld sent his son to Minneapolis to see if they were able to start treating Prince, but it was already too late. Prince’s body was found in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen.

Based on reports from The Carver County court docket, claims were dismissed last August against Walgreens, which had filled Prince’s prescriptions and Trinity Medical Center, an Illinois hospital that treated Prince for an overdose shortly before his death. There were also dismissals in November of all claims against Dr. Michael Schulenberg, who had prescribed the painkillers to an associate of Prince and against Schulenberg’s former employer, North Memorial Health Care.

Rodger Hagen, the attorney for the doctor and the hospital declined to comment. Paul C. Peterson, Schulenberg’s attorney, declined to comment on the state court dismissal and 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.