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State v. Purdue Pharma L.P.

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence

May 31, 2019

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, by and through, PETER NERONHA, ATTORNEY GENERAL, Plaintiff,
v.
PURDUE PHARMA L.P.; PURDUE PHARMA INC.; THE PURDUE FREDERICK COMPANY, INC.; RHODES PHARMACEUTICALS L.P.; RHODES TECHNOLOGIES; RHODES TECHNOLOGIES INC.; RICHARD S. SACKLER; INSYS THERAPEUTICS, INC.; JOHN N. KAPOOR; TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS USA, INC.; CEPHALON, INC.; MALLINCKRODT PLC; MALLINCKRODT, LLC; SPECGX, LLC; CARDINAL HEALTH, INC.; MCKESSON CORPORATION d/b/a MCKESSON DRUG COMPANY; and AMERISOURCEBERGEN DRUG CORPORATION, Defendants.

          For Plaintiff: Peter F. Neronha, Esq.; Vincent L. Greene, IV, Esq.; Robert J. McConnell, Esq.; Kate Menard, Esq.; Donald A. Migliori, Esq.; Jonathan D. Orent, Esq.

          For Defendant: Matthew T. Oliverio, Esq.

          DECISION

          GIBNEY, P.J.

         Before this Court is a Motion by Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc. (collectively Purdue Defendants or Purdue) for the Court to Reconsider its May 6, 2019 Order (the Order) granting the State of Rhode Island's (Plaintiff or the State) Motion to Compel the Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition of Purdue (the Deposition). Alternately, Purdue Defendants move the Court to rule on their objections to the topics in the State's April 4, 2019 Notice of Deposition Pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6) to Purdue Defendants (the Notice), and to clarify the permissible scope of the Deposition. The State objects to Purdue's Motion for Reconsideration and further moves for an order that the Deposition commence within ten days of the denial of Purdue's Motion for Reconsideration. Jurisdiction is pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 8-2-14 and Super. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6).

         I

         Facts and Travel

         This motion arises from an ongoing matter in which the State, by and through its Attorney General Peter Neronha, [1] seeks to recover for damages allegedly caused by the opioid epidemic from seventeen defendants comprised of opioid manufacturers, distributors, and two individuals with executive positions (or former executive positions) at defendant organizations. For a more thorough recitation of the facts underlying this dispute, the Court refers readers to State v. Purdue Pharma L.P., No. PC-2018-4555, 2018 WL 6074198 (R.I. Super. Nov. 15, 2018).

         On April 4, 2019, the State noticed Purdue of a Deposition pertaining to topics related to finance and corporate structure, pursuant to Super. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6). Purdue objected to the Notice, to which the State responded with its intent to file a Motion to Compel. On April 15, 2019, Purdue moved for a Protective Order from this Court and to Quash the Notice. In support thereof, Purdue Defendants argued that the Notice is overbroad and seeks irrelevant information; is duplicative of information already in the State's possession; and is unduly burdensome in its scope, timing, and location. The State objected to Purdue's Motion to Quash-arguing that the requested Deposition is relevant and necessary, that it is not duplicative or premature, and that Purdue Defendants have not cooperated with the State's requests to meet and confer-and on April 17, 2019, filed a Cross-Motion to Compel the Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition of Purdue Defendants. This Court heard argument on May 1, 2019.

         On May 6, 2019, the Court entered an Order granting the State's Motion to Compel. On May 13, 2019, Purdue moved the Court to Reconsider its Order under Super. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6). In the alternative, Purdue requested that the Court rule on Purdue's specific objections to the Notice. On May 16, 2019, the State objected to Purdue's Motion for Reconsideration.

         II

         Standard of Review

The Rhode Island Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure do not explicitly recognize a motion for reconsideration. Flanagan v. Blair, 882 A.2d 569, 574 (R.I. 2005). Rather, the Supreme Court "treat[s] motions for 'reconsideration' . . . as the equivalent of motions to vacate under Rule 60(b)." Id. at 574 (citing Keystone Elevator Co. v. Johnson & Wales Univ., 850 A.2d 912, 916 (R.I. 2004)). Specifically, Rule 60(b) states, in pertinent part,
"On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or a party's legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding ...

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