Doctor who prescribed fentanyl, hydrocodone faces lawsuit in opioid overdose death of former 3 Doors Down guitarist

by Jim Orr

The family of Matthew Roberts, former lead guitarist for the rock group 3 Doors Down, has filed a lawsuit against his doctor over allegations of improperly prescribing opioid medications that led to the musician’s death. Roberts died in 2016 of an opioid overdose caused by the drugs fentanyl and hydrocodone.

According to the family’s lawsuit, Roberts’s doctor, Richard Snellgrove, gave the musician prescriptions for large amounts of opioid painkillers starting in 2006. Over the several years, Dr. Snellgrove wrote more than 250 prescriptions for opioids and other medications for Roberts. According to medical records, Dr. Snellgrove wrote that he prescribed the opioids to Roberts in order to treat hand pain from playing the guitar.

Roberts was found dead in 2016 outside a hotel room in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was scheduled to perform at a charity concert that night. According to police records, Roberts was found with a fentanyl patch on his body at the time of his death; hydrocodone and Xanax were later found to be in his system. Roberts had left 3 Doors Down in 2012 in order to attend drug rehabilitation for his opioid addiction, and was performing with another band at the time of his death.

The Roberts family’s lawsuit against Dr. Snellgrove accuses him of prescribing massive quantities of opioids that fueled their son’s opioid addiction, leading to his death. Rite Aid pharmacy, which the family accuses of failing to report Roberts’ suspected drug abuse to authorities, is also named as a defendant in the suit.

In addition to the lawsuit filed by the Roberts family, Dr. Snellgrove is also facing federal criminal charges over allegations of writing excessive opioid prescriptions. Dr. Snellgrove is charged in the U.S. District Court in Alabama with distribution prescription medications – including opioids – for no legitimate medical reason.

Roberts performed with 3 Doors Down from 1996 until leaving the group in 2012. During its career, the band sold more than 20 million records, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001 for the song “Kryptonite,” which Roberts had helped to write.

Roberts is the latest in a string of rock musicians whose deaths have been linked to their use of the drug fentanyl. The 2016 overdose death of Prince was blamed on a fentanyl overdose. Last year, Tom Petty had fentanyl and other opioids in his system when he died of an accidental overdose. Other rock musicians whose deaths have been linked to their use of fentanyl include Slipknot bassist Paul Gray and former Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett.

Fentanyl Overdose Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson

If you have lost a loved one to an overdoses caused by fentanyl, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the doctor who prescribed the drug, the pharmacy who filled the prescription, or the manufacturer. The first step in filing a lawsuit is to speak with an attorney who can advise you about your rights and guide you through the first steps in filing a case.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have handled more cases involving the fentanyl pain patch than all other firms in the U.S. combined. Our law firm has also filed lawsuits on behalf of individuals who were harmed by other opioid painkillers, including hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, and oxycodone.

For more information about the fentanyl lawsuits filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson and to learn more about whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit, contact our offices for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answer a few simple questions to get started.