As of 2020, some four years later, it has been made clear that there have not been any substantial cause for the enigmatic 2016 death of musician Prince Rogers Nelson to be considered “wrongful.” The singer-songwriter and guitarist, who performed under the stage name Prince (and briefly as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince”) passed away in April 21 that year under mysterious circumstances connected to his then-ongoing health issues. Wrongful death suits were filed by Prince’s surviving family against a Minnesota doctor the artist was consulting before his death and several other persons for suspected medical malpractice. But now it appears all pending cases have been dismissed since 2019.
USA Today reports that apparently all defendants in the wrongful death lawsuit for the opioid -induced death of music legend Prince at his Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota close to four years ago have since been dismissed of all claims by the court. An autopsy at the time revealed that Prince had taken a fatal overdose of fentanyl from what was determined to be counterfeit pills that he had been taking. As he had left no written will, Prince’s estate has been in limbo as the courts proceed rather slowly in its valuing and disposal.
Several people were sued by Prince’s relatives in the wake of his 2016 passing, among them being the Moline, Illinois hospital where the artist stayed seven days before his actual death, for allowing him to leave against medical advice following his emergency treatment there for an opioid overdose episode. The suit alleged that the defendants were in the know of how long Prince was suffering from opioid addiction, but did nothing to stop the chain of events leading to his death. But in spring of 2019, plaintiffs started dismissing charges against the defendants until all have been cleared of wrongdoing.
The dismissals of wrongful death liability appear to have come following a series of settlements between Prince Nelson’s family and the defendants. Minnesota law professor Henry Blair notes from a reading of the dismissal language, with permission from plaintiffs and defendants, all but confirms the settlement angle for getting the suit thrown out. There is however an appeal ongoing to overturn the dismissal of the lawsuit against addiction specialist Henry Kornfield, who was contracted by Prince’s associates regarding his condition sometime before the musician’s death.
In the meantime, surviving siblings of Prince are still awaiting a final valuation of their late brother’s estate, as the Internal Revenue Service has not provided a definitive assessment beyond an over $200-million estimate, pre-taxation. Prince was famous for songs such as “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry” and “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.”
Image from Chicago Tribune