News & Blog

People v. Stan XuHui Li

December 10, 2019 • Posted By Scott J. Laird • Insurance Coverage

            The Court of Appeals in People v. Stan XuHui Li, -- N.E. 3d ----, 2019 WL 6312500, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 08544, recently held that doctors can face homicide charges if they recklessly overprescribe their patients which causes an overdose death. In doing so, the Court of Appeals stated that: “[t]here is no basis to conclude that the legislature intended to exclude from the ambit of the homicide statutes the prosecution of a defendant who, with the requisite mens rea, engages in conduct through the sale or provision of dangerous drugs that directly causes the death of a person.”

            In the underlying criminal matter, Dr. Stan XuHui Li was convicted of two counts of second-degree manslaughter after two of his patients died from prescription drug overdoses. In both instances, Dr. Li’s patients died of overdoses from a deadly combination of oxycodone and Xanax.

           Before prescribing controlled substances, Dr. Li performed no diagnostic workup, did not determine if non-opioid treatments would have been effective, and most importantly, did not verify the symptoms and complaints of the patients who ultimately passed away. The Court of Appeals ruled that the deaths of Dr. Li’s patients was: “a direct and foreseeable result of [Dr. Li’s] reckless conduct.”

 

By

Scott J. Laird, Esq.