A federal judge on Friday refused to block Nebraska from carrying out the state’s first-ever lethal injection despite a pharmaceutical company’s lawsuit that claims the state illicitly obtained its drugs.
U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf denied the company’s request to temporarily block state prison officials from executing Carey Dean Moore, one of the nation’s longest-serving death row inmates.
Moore is scheduled to die Tuesday in Nebraska’s first execution since 1997 with a never-before-tried combination of drugs.
Moore, who was convicted of killing two cab drivers five days apart in 1979, has stopped fighting the state’s efforts to execute him, leaving death penalty opponents with few options to keep the process from moving forward.
“I will not allow the plaintiff to frustrate the wishes of Carey Dean Moore,” Kopf said during the hearing.
Fresenius Kabi attorney Mark Christensen said the company plans to file an immediate appeal.
Attorneys for the drug company, Fresenius Kabi, filed a lawsuit earlier this week arguing that state officials improperly obtained at least one of the company’s drugs.
In Nevada, a judge indefinitely postponed an execution last month after drugmaker Alvogen filed a similar lawsuit over one of its products.
Nebraska state officials have refused to identify the source of their execution drugs, but Fresenius Kabi alleges the state’s supply of potassium chloride is stored in 30-milliliter bottles.
Fresenius Kabi said it’s the only company that packages the drug in vials of that size.
The company said it may also have manufactured Nebraska’s supply of cisatracurium, and that Nebraska’s use of its drugs would damage its reputation and business relationships.
Fresenius Kabi said it takes no position on capital punishment, but strongly opposes the use of its products for use in executions.
State attorneys denied the allegation and said one of their protocol drugs expires on Aug. 31, which will leave the state with no way to carry out future executions.
In an affidavit filed Thursday, Department of Correctional Services Director Scott Frakes said he contacted at least 40 suppliers in six states and found only one that agreed to provide his agency with the necessary drugs.
But that supplier is unwilling to sell them any more of its drugs, Frakes said.
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