On December 29, 2023, an Arkansas court in the case of Walmart, Inc. v. ACE Am. Ins. Co., 04CV-22-2835-4, 2023 WL 9067386, (Ark. Cir. Ct. Dec. 29, 2023) found that defendant insurers owe Walmart a duty to pay or reimburse defense costs that Walmart incurred while defending prescription opioid liability lawsuits.
Like many in the pharmaceutical supply chain, Walmart is a defendant in thousands of lawsuits filed by state and local government entities acting in their parens patriae capacity. These lawsuits allege that Walmart knowingly, recklessly, or negligently caused bodily injuries, like addiction, death, and property damage, by failing to monitor, detect and report suspicious orders of prescription opioids. In 2022, Walmart entered into a “National Settlement” that resolved many of those governmental suits. The settlement reimbursed costs the government plaintiffs alleged they incurred for treating its citizens’ bodily injury and property damage. Walmart sought defense and indemnity coverage from AIG and other insurance companies providing excess coverage under its general liability policies. The insurers denied coverage.Continue Reading A win for Walmart! An Arkansas court finds insurers have a duty to defend certain prescription opioid liability lawsuits