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Washington State Pain Patients Sue for Relief

January 26, 2009

Maple Valley, Washington citizens are tired of viewing the Washington State Department of Health as a pain in the neck – literally. They have formed a non-profit organization (patientreliefnetwork.org) and are suing the Washington State Department of Health, along with a number of Washington State top agency directors, for both injunctive relief and damages. Chronic pain sufferers are fed up with the Washington State Government policies, which have either locked down their pain doctors, or driven them out of business. Those who are in rural communities or solo pain practices have been particularly hard hit as DOH investigators continue to restrict or suspend their licenses. At least 12 doctors have been forced out of business by the DOH in Western Washington in the past year. Others have been intimidated by the Department of Health’s crackdown and are refusing to provide patients with pain medications for fear of licensing reprisals by the Department of Health.

Laura Cooper, an attorney representing the Pain Relief Network, has initiated a class action lawsuit on behalf of harmed chronic pain patients in federal court in Spokane, naming the Washington Department of Health along with other public health entities and officials (including a group of agency directors), holding them responsible for this medical crisis. If successful, the Pain Relief Network lawsuit would compensate those chronic pain patients for the substantial, categorical harm foisted on them by public health officials and should result in a change in public health policy that would require such officials to take the needs of such patients into account when making policy.

If the Pain Relief Network lawsuit is successful, each registrant member of the compensation class will be eligible for court-awarded damager. Further information may be obtained by contacting the Pain Relief Network at www.painreliefnetwork.org.



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