Prince wrongful death case dismissal upheld by Appeals Court

A Minnesota Court of Appeals judge has upheld the dismissal of wrongful death claims in the death of Prince.

Prince Rogers Nelson died of an accidental fentanyl overdose on April 21, 2016 at his Paisley Park estate. He was 57. No one was criminally charged in his death and the investigation never uncovered who provided the counterfeit pills to Prince.

Prince's heirs filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April 2018 against Dr. Michael Schulenberg, Walgreens, Trinity Medical Center and Dr. Howard Kornfeld and his California healthcare clinic, Recovery Without Walls.

Claims against Walgreens, where Prince filled prescriptions, and Trinity Medical Center, where Prince was treated for an opioid overdose a week before his death, were dismissed in August 2019. Claims against Dr. Schulenberg were dismissed in November.

Claims against Dr. Kornfeld and his clinic, alleging they “failed their duty and opportunity to diagnose and treat Prince's addiction and prevent his death,” were dismissed in September 2019 but appealed by the estate. Kornfeld’s defense argued for dismissal for a “lack of personal jurisdiction” – that he and the clinic didn’t communicate with Prince or establish a doctor-patient relationship that was relevant to the fatal overdose. A district court judge agreed and an appeals court judge has now affirmed that order.

The case of Prince’s estate, estimated at $200 million before taxes, is still moving through probate court in Carver County, Minnesota.