Lawsuit on execution drug likely to be dropped because of federal injunction | Arkansas Blog

Lawsuit on execution drug likely to be dropped because of federal injunction

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McKesson Medical-Surgical is asking for dismissal of the lawsuit that led to Judge Wendell Griffen's restraining order against use of one of three execution drugs.

The state filed notice of an emergency appeal of Griffen's order today and asked that he be removed from the case because of statements and actions in opposition to the death penalty, including by lethal injection.

But now the drug distributor is asking Griffen to vacate his order and dismiss its suit as a result of federal preliminary injunction that has put a halt to executions in another case. In expectation of that, it asks the Supreme Court to dismiss appeal of the case when a lower court dismissal order is presented. Said its filing:

The imminent danger that Defendants would use McKesson’s property and be unable to return it has been addressed by the Federal Court’s Preliminary Injunction Order. Consequently, there is no need for the temporary restraining order at this time. McKesson therefore respectfully requests that it be vacated.
McKesson asks that the case be dismissed without prejudice, which means it could be refiled

From Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's spokesman Judd Deere:

“The Attorney General is pleased that McKesson Medical-Surgical has requested to vacate the Temporary Restraining Order and dismiss their case. Based on this filing to end the case, the State Supreme Court should act soon to vacate Judge Griffen’s order, allowing the Arkansas Department of Correction to use the drug for executions.”
McKesson doesn't have its drugs back, so that particularly harmcontinues to exist, though it has given Arkansas its money back. McKesson said the state acted deceitfully, including lying about the intended use of the drug vecuronium bromide, to obtain the drug, one of three injected in state killings.

If the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturns Judge Kristine Baker's preliminary injunction in a multi-faceted broad challenge to executions by nine Death Row inmates, then the executions could be back on and, perhaps, the drug question would re-emerge.

Griffen had scheduled a 9 a.m. Tuesday hearing on the McKesson case. He had told the Arkansas Times he'd address criticism of his handling of the case and participation in death protests at that time. The hearing now seems unlikely to be held.

The killing process calls for an injection of midazolam, which is supposed to make the condemned person unable to feel pain, something experts have challenged. The Pfizer drug then aralyzes the condemned. Then potassium chloride kills the person.

The disappearance of this issue is unlikely to end questions about Griffen's handling of the case, either before the legislature or the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.


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