Jackson County

Family of 3 Doors Down guitarist files wrongful death suit against doctor, pharmacy

Matt Roberts of Escatawpa, guitarist and co-founding member of 3 Doors Down, was found dead of a drug overdose iAug. 20, 2016, in a Wisconsin hotel. Richard Snellgrove, the Fairhope doctor charged with prescribing opioids that led to Roberts' death, goes on trial Friday in U.S. District Court in Mobile.
Matt Roberts of Escatawpa, guitarist and co-founding member of 3 Doors Down, was found dead of a drug overdose iAug. 20, 2016, in a Wisconsin hotel. Richard Snellgrove, the Fairhope doctor charged with prescribing opioids that led to Roberts' death, goes on trial Friday in U.S. District Court in Mobile. Sun Herald file

A doctor and a drug store were negligent in the treatment and dispensing of narcotics for 3 Doors Down founder Matt Roberts, leading to his death, a lawsuit alleges.

Roberts, who was lead guitarist for the Jackson County-based band, died of a drug overdose Aug. 20, 2016, at a hotel in Wisconsin. He was 38.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of his family members names as defendants Dr. Richard Snellgrove and Rite-Aid Pharmacy, the Associated Press reports.

The lawsuit accuses Snellgrove of continuing to prescribe high doses of opioids for the 38-year-old Roberts after he had completed a drug rehab program while failing to monitor him and perform a risk assessment.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Roberts passed away, but Mr. Roberts passed away because of his abuse of his prescriptions in addition to using other drugs that weren’t associated with his prescriptions,” said Dennis Knizley, who is defending Snellgrove in a separate federal criminal case that arose from the death. “It was definitely unfortunate, but it’s certainly not at the hands of Dr. Snellgrove.”

Roberts’ texts to the doctor about requests for prescriptions are part of a federal case against Snellgrove. A five-page indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Mobile has charged Snellgrove with criminal acts.

The Rite Aid in Spanish Fort, Alabama, filled prescriptions for Roberts even though the pharmacy suspected he had a drug program, the news source reports.

One of the drugs in his system after he died allegedly was dispensed by the Spanish Fort pharmacy.

The lawsuit claims the pharmacy should have reported its suspicions to the DEA and the Alabama Board of Pharmacy. It was filed in Baldwin County Circuit Court in Bay Minette, Alabama.

Roberts, Brad Arnold and Todd Harrell formed 3 Doors Down in South Mississippi in 1996.

He co-authored the band’s hit song “Kryptonite,” which in 2001 was nominated for a Grammy award for best rock song.

Snellgrove began prescribing opioids to Roberts in 2006, which involved 178 prescriptions for opioids and other drugs from that time until the winter of 2012, the lawsuit states.

After the band’s 2012 European tour, Roberts left the band and checked into the Arizona center, court records state. He didn’t rejoin 3 Doors Down, but continued to play guitar. (He had gone to Wisconsin to perform with another band in a benefit concert involving the military when he died).

In 2014, Snellgrove resumed prescribing “high levels of opioids” to Roberts along with other drugs, the lawsuit maintains. It includes a chart of 88 prescriptions from the fall of 2014 through Aug. 18, 2016.

On Aug. 20, 2016, Roberts was found dead in the hallway of a hotel in West Bend, Wisconsin, with a guitar case beside him and a patch that delivers fentanyl on his body, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration wrote in an affidavit.

A medical examiner later ruled the cause of death to be an overdose involving fentanyl, hydrocodone and alprazolam, the affidavit stated.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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