Methadone clinic under fire in two wrongful death lawsuits

By KBJR News 1

August 25, 2014 Updated Aug 25, 2014 at 7:06 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Two lawsuits against a Brainerd methadone clinic will go ahead after a judge overruled the clinic's request to dismiss two wrongful death lawsuits against them.

In October 2012, two Carlton County Highway workers, Mitchell Lindgren and Zach Gamache, were killed when a car driven by Vanessa Brigan slammed into their truck on Highway 210.

The families of the two men who were killed are taking legal action against the methadone clinic.

Inside Brigan's car, police found syringes containing methadone, and a nearly empty bottle of methadone with a prescription.

Now the Brainerd methadone treatment center, Pinnacle Recovery Services, which provided Brigan's prescriptions, is under fire.

The lawsuits allege that the clinic was negligent in administering Brigan methadone.

Brigan is currently serving six years in prison.

Philip Sieff, who is representing both families, says methadone clinics need to take responsibility for their patients.

"If you are going to give out and administer a dangerous narcotic, to an addict that you take reasonable precautions to make sure that that individual does not get behind the wheel of a car," said Philip Sieff, who is representing both families.

Sieff says this is the first lawsuit, that he knows of, of this kind filed in Minnesota.

A trial is scheduled for July 2015 in Duluth for the Lingren family's lawsuit; however, a date has not yet been set yet for Gamache's family.

Ramona Marozas
Kati Anderson