Chris Cornell's Family Sues Doctor Over Singer's Suicide

Lawsuit says he overprescribed drugs to Soundgarden frontman
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 1, 2018 2:58 PM CDT
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In this July 29, 2015 file photo, Chris Cornell poses for a portrait in Agoura Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Casey Curry/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Family members of Chris Cornell on Thursday sued a doctor they say overprescribed drugs to the rock singer, leading to his death, the AP reports. Cornell's widow, Vicky Cornell, and their children, Toni and Christopher, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that prescription drugs, especially the anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam, led to erratic behavior from the Soundgarden frontman before his death in Detroit in 2017 at age 52. The lawsuit says Dr. Robert Koblin and his Beverly Hills office "negligently and repeatedly" prescribed "dangerous mind-altering controlled substances to Chris Cornell which impaired Mr. Cornell's cognition, clouded his judgment, and caused him to engage in dangerous impulsive behaviors that he was unable to control, costing him his life."

It focuses in particular on Koblin's prescribing Cornell large amounts of Lorazepam—which is sold under the brand name Ativan—to Cornell in the 20 months leading up to his death, which was ruled a suicide by hanging. Toxicology tests showed the presence of Ativan along with barbiturates, caffeine, the anti-opioid drug naloxone, and a decongestant. The lawsuit says the doctor knew that Cornell had a serious history of substance abuse, and he failed to examine or consult with him as he was prescribing the drugs. The "unmonitored use of such excessive amounts of Lorazepam ... was known to increase the risk of suicide because it can severely impair judgment, thinking and impulse control and diminish the ability of a patient to think and act rationally," the lawsuit says. (Cornell's wife says his final phone call was disturbing.)


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