Morris & Dickson Statement on the Fifth Circuit Decision Staying the DEA’s Order Indefinitely, Pending Appeal
Morris & Dickson is grateful to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for promptly granting its request to stay the Drug Enforcement Administration’s recent license revocation against the company. The Fifth Circuit’s decision means that it continues to be business as usual at Morris & Dickson: the stay indefinitely stops the DEA’s Order from taking effect, pending appeal.
DEA’s recent Order stems from old issues that transpired between 2014 and 2018. In short, the law required that Morris & Dickson flag “suspicious orders” for the DEA, but the DEA Field Office told the company it was not actually acting on those reports (a fact that the U.S. Inspector General verified in 2019 in a scathing report about DEA’s role in the opioid crisis). Concerned about diversion, Morris & Dickson pivoted to finding customers with usual or erratic ordering patterns, terminating dozens and dozens of customers in that same period, and restricting or terminating access to opioids for many others. In addition, Morris & Dickson had $2.5 million in short-dated opioids, which it could have sold into the market, but instead burned. All this evidence shows the seriousness with which the company saw its responsibilities to help avoid diversion of opioids to addicts. It reported all this evidence to DEA. In issuing the revocation Order, DEA ignored the exculpatory evidence, which is one of the main bases for Morris & Dickson’s appeal.
Today’s decision shows that, unlike DEA, the courts are taking the issue very seriously. Jim Walden of Walden Macht & Haran, counsel for M&D, said “DEA’s actions have been wrong and unfair, and we look forward to proving—in the 5th Circuit and elsewhere—that DEA’s actions represent an actual abuse of governmental authority. Federal agencies cannot and should not ignore the facts on the ground in an effort to score political points.”
Since 2018, Morris & Dickson has served communities through an historic pandemic, seven hurricanes, everyday emergencies and all with a new corporate management team and state-of-the-art compliance system – a system deemed “impressive” by the DEA administrative law judge involved in the case. The systems were independently designed to be effective controls against diversion of controlled substances. And it is already delivering results: Between May 2018 and May 2023, Morris & Dickson submitted 41,590 suspicious order reports to the DEA. The company has also had two independent audits, including one by DEA, that found Morris & Dickson’s compliance system to be above reproach.