Methadone clinic sued for giving out Methadone

By John O'Brien | Oct 13, 2006

CHARLESTON - The administrator of the estate of a man killed in a car accident is suing the Charleston Treatment Center, saying it negligently gave Methadone to a man it knew was still on drugs.

Rusty Kinser filed the lawsuit Oct. 6 in Kanawha Circuit Court as the administrator of the Estate of Ward Kinser.

Kinser was only 28 when he died in a Sept. 4, 2004, car accident in Chapmanville with Larry Vance.

The lawsuit says Vance was driving under the influence of controlled substances, including Methadone. It adds that Vance had a history of testing positive for drugs, including barbiturates and opiates, but still routinely received Methadone from the CTC.

Rusty Kinser says the CTC should have known that combining Methadone, used to wean drug addicts off their dependency, with the drugs Vance routinely tested positive for would create a dangerous situation.

The complaint claims the CTC "knew that it was foreseeable that Vance would be involved in a collision and therefore CTC rendered health care services in a willful, wanton and grossly reckless manner and in a reckless disregard of a foreseeable risk of harm to Plaintiff's Decedent in the nature of a vehicular accident."

On the day of the accident, the complaint says Vance was given 150 milligrams of Methadone at the CTC then took home another 345 mgs.

"Prior to the accident, CTC noted that Vance needed more intensive treatment, but CTC did not provide more intensive treatment," the complaint says.

It adds that Vance crossed the center line and struck Kinser head on.

Norman White of Shaffer and Shaffer in Madison is representing Kinser's estate, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Judge James Stucky has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-2084

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