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Pharmacies Stay in ‘Candyman’ Suit

Medicine Shoppe and San Ysidro Pharmacy Named in Dr. Julio Diaz Case


Thursday, August 15, 2013
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Although it appears Adam Montgomery, a 27-year-old Lompoc construction worker, died of a heroin overdose in November 2011, Santa Barbara Judge Colleen Sterne ruled that two pharmacies that filled Montgomery’s prescriptions for numerous prescription painkillers prior to his death could be liable for civil penalties. Attorneys for the two pharmacies ​— ​the Medicine Shoppe and the San Ysidro Pharmacy ​— ​had argued Sterne should reject the claims brought against them by Montgomery’s parents, but the judge concluded there was enough of a factual dispute as to the role played by prescription medications in Montgomery’s demise.

The main target of that litigation, Dr. Julio Diaz, was arrested in January 2012 at his Milpas Street clinic during a raid orchestrated by officers with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Diaz, dubbed “the Candyman,” was the subject of multiple complaints by numerous Santa Barbara physicians for overprescribing pain medications, and 11 of his patients died of drug overdoses in the last five years of his practice. Montgomery had been a patient of Diaz’s from 2009 to 2011.

According to expert witnesses hired by Montgomery’s parents, the “excessive prescribing of controlled substances” by Diaz and dispensed by the two pharmacies led to “compulsive drug seeking and use” by Montgomery, contributing to his addiction and his high tolerance for opiates. Ultimately, they argued, it led Montgomery ​— ​“in an effort to satisfy his unremitting desire” ​— ​to seek out heroin. These experts also argued Montgomery tested positive for many prescription drugs at the time of his death, as well as heroin. Sterne’s ruling was procedural, meaning that the two pharmacies and their owners will remain included as defendants in a case scheduled for trial this September.

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Who is responsible for Montgomery's death?? MONTGOMERY!!!

Rsparks (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I am sure that there are many construction workers from Lompoc that get their perscriptions from the San Ysidro Pharmacy. That place is huge! it is almost like a Sam's club.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2013 at 11:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh lord - Sterne strikes again. Diaz certainly looks like a questionable practitioner but to make the jump that seeking out herion stemmed from the prescription drugs hence making the pharmacies liable is simply ridiculous.

To imply herion use was anyone's decision but Mongomery's is another "out of this world" irrational, conclusion by Judge Colleen.

The death or loss of a child is indeed a tragedy - too bad Colleen only cares about certain children - and this child was an adult. Not to be insensitive to the Montgomery's but I wonder if they have money and Colleen knows that? She is the economic justice judge is she not?

I wonder what her personal motivation for this bizarre "LEGAL??" ruling was? She certainly comes up with some crazy conclusions which unfortunately can severely damage childrens and adults lives and for which she has no regard. Something's not right with that gal.

Did she forget everything she learned at SB College of Law because she certainly does not refer to the law when she makes decisions. But who cares as long as she still has health benefits and a paycheck.

She just seems to pull things out of the air. Is she operating on all her cylinders?

What are her real life experiences besides working in law firms and courtrooms and being a "high priestess" at her church? A judge needs to have common sense and real life experiences to function properly, fairly and effectively.

Does she even have any children?

When will she be finally removed from the bench? It is long overdue and "everyone" in town who knows of her agrees.

anon111 (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2013 at 12:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Uh, Judge Sterne simply made the decision that the pharmacies will remain defendants in the lawsuit. If a pharmacy in Montecito is filling multiple opiate type drug prescriptions for a guy from Lompoc there is a reasonable cause of action here. The facts will play out in the actual trial. She was just doing her job and she made a valid decision. The final decision will be up to a jury.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2013 at 12:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes HG I am aware that a jury will make a final decision and this is an interim decision about the pharmacies remaining defendants in the action.

Perhaps I was unclear in my post. However I used the word "imply" not "found guilty" and Sterne's decisions are increasingly erratic, inconsistent and harmful as is her court attendence and and performance.

She should've been off the bench yesterday.

anon111 (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2013 at 1:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You may have a problem with her other decisions, but this was the correct one. She made no comments about the validity of the claims, just that the pharmacies could be liable.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2013 at 2:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Fair enough HG - you're entitled to your opinion and analysis. Me too.

anon111 (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2013 at 9:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There are two Medicine Shoppe stores in
Santa Baarbara; which one is mentioned in this law suit?

mgreg (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2013 at 12:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't know if Montgomery drank or smoked cigarettes, but I hope that if he did, Sterne considers the providers of these addictive, destructive legal drugs liable for his death as well as the pharmacies that legally provided him with medicine prescribed by Diaz. Since two pharmacies are named, I don't know that either could detect a pattern of abuse.
I know local people who have had chronic severe pain for years, had prescriptions for narcotic pain killers with several refills written by reputable doctors for decades, and are currently unable to find MD's to treat their pain due to the MDs' paranoia. Some have resorted to buying the same meds on the street. If arrested on drug possession charges, would Sterne consider MD's who refused to provide medicine these people need to function liable for refusing to provide it legally? It seems to contradict the "do no harm" phrase of the Hippocratic oath.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2013 at 11:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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