Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to force Judge Alice Gray to issue a written order an injunction on the state using vecuronium bromide in its execution protocol. The drug’s supplier McKesson filed a complaint alleging that the Arkansas Department of Correction acquired vecuronium bromide under false pretenses. Gray verbally indicated she intended to issue the injunction yesterday from the bench in that case. According to a petition filed by the attorney general, the state understood that Gray would issue the order by 9:30 a.m., but Gray has not done so.
UPDATE: Gray’s order was electronically filed at 11:30 a.m.
The order granting a preliminary injunction says, “The Court finds that in the absence of a preliminary injunction, Plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm which cannot be adequately compensated by money damages or redressed by a court of law.”
Gray has not required ADC to return the vecuronium bromide.
UPDATE II: Now the state has filed an emergency motion for a stay in Gray’s ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
From the motion:
The bottom line to all the claims is that McKesson willingly sold a drug to the ADC and then experienced seller’s remorse. McKesson asked the ADC to return the drug after the transaction but the ADC declined. No valid legal theory supports McKesson’s argument that a person who purchases a product must use that product in a certain way as dictated by the seller after the completion of the transaction, or must return the product on demand by the seller after the completion of the transaction. McKesson’s contentions about violations of medical and drug statutes and regulations are immaterial because McKesson is not the enforcement authority for any such statute or regulation and cannot bring a private cause of action against the ADC for such enforcement.
The ADC has said it has no other vecuronium bromide than the supply it obtained from McKesson and has no other source from which to purchase more. Without it, tonight’s executions cannot proceed.
The State requires extremely expedited handling of this matter because the expedited injunction will bar both the early-afternoon mixing and evening use of a lethal-injection drug for tonight’s scheduled execution. The State plans to take an immediate appeal of the circuit court’s written order and bring an emergency motion for an immediate stay of that order as soon as the written order is entered.