Insurer Not Obligated to Defend Opioid Distributor Against Underlying Government Lawsuits


Lawsuits brought by  governmental bodies against a prescription opioid distributor seeking damages merely related to opioid-related addiction and overdoses do not invoke an insurer’s duty to defend, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today.

In a 5-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled local governments are attempting to recover economic losses they have experienced because of the opioid epidemic, but the policies that insurer Acuity sold to Masters Pharmaceutical do not cover such claims. The Court stated Acuity insured Masters against claims that seek “damages because of bodily injury.”