Stella Case No. 106, Originally Published: 25 January 2006
In 2003, while Oklahoma State Trooper Nik Green was investigating a mobile lab that was manufacturing methamphetamine, the druggie grabbed Green’s gun and shot him to death. Ricky Ray Malone was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of the policeman.
Green’s widow, Linda, is bitter. “She wants the companies to pay for what they’ve done, not just to Nik but to everybody,” said her attorney, Gary J. James. Companies? What companies? Green was shot by a felon, and he’s in prison awaiting execution!
These companies: Walmart, Walgreens, several other retailers, Pfizer, Leiner Health Products and Perrigo Co.
What did they do to cause Green’s murder? They made or sold cold medicines which contained pseudoephedrine, which is illegally converted to meth, and they “have known and should have known that a significant part of their cold medicine sale and profits are generated directly from drug addicts and street dealers,” the suit says.
Walmart responded to the suit by noting it did know that, and it has been voluntarily restricting the sales of products containing pseudoephedrine since 1997. Too bad; doing the right thing just isn’t enough.
Meth abuse is a serious systemic social problem with wide-ranging ramifications. The ridiculous abuse of the civil court system to assign blame where there is no wrongdoing is also a serious systemic social problem with wide-ranging ramifications. Putting the two together sure isn’t going to help things.
- “Meth Suit Cites Drug Firms”, Portland Oregonian, 28 December 2005.
After sixteen years of appeals, the U.S. Supreme court rejected Ricky Ray Malone’s appeal on his murder conviction. The former firefighter, who was 29 when he killed Green, argued he should only have been convicted of second-degree murder because he was [eyes=“rolling”] high on meth when he shot the trooper.
Sadly, while Mrs. Green subsequently remarried school superintendent Dennis Bennett, he was killed in a traffic accident in early 2019. (Source: “Final Appeal Denied for Man Convicted of Killing State Trooper”, KFDX Witchita Falls, 9 October 2019.)
As for the lawsuit, a 2007 Associated Press report noted simply that it had been “settled,” so it is so marked here.
My 2022 Thoughts on the Case
A clear and sad case of finding some deep pockets somewhere to blame even though they were already doing the right thing, and had nothing to do with the tort in question.
In 2004, Oklahoma passed the “Nik Green Act” to require that pseudoephedrine may only be sold by a licensed pharmacy which limits the amount that can be purchased by any one individual per 30 days. The law eventually spread nationwide; “Chain Reaction” turned out to be a particularly apt title for this one.
This is the last of the several catch-up cases published in early 2006 from 2005.
Bill in, I think, Texas: “I am enjoying reading your book, even though some of the stories are really far out! I spent over 25 years of my life being an in-house attorney defending cases for a Fortune 500 company, many of which were frivolous, and must say that some of these are far worse than what I had to deal with. Regardless of the frivolity of a specific case, the defendant cannot take a chance and ignore the case, but must retain the best counsel in the area to defend it. To do otherwise is foolish in the extreme. Thus, all frivolous cases are expensive.”
Well, Bill, if you think the frivolous cases you had to deal with were expensive, imagine having to do it with a personally hired lawyer, not using in-house counsel paid for by a large corporation! But yes, your point is a great one.
Ralph in Pennsylvania: “Yeah, I’ve got a comment! The first book wasn’t long enough; when is the second coming out? You could make it 500 pages, cost $40.00 or more, and I will still await each release! They are funny and depressing at the same time. The first book wasn’t enough. I want more!”
Well, the publisher gave me 288 pages to “present my case,” but I ended up taking 352. The allowed me to go over not only because they liked what I wrote, but because they also think it’s an important topic.
That said, I don’t plan a second book: the first book covers pretty much everything I have to say on the topic.
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