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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The family of a Henderson city judge who died last year with the powerful opioid fentanyl in her system has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a doctor charged in another case with illegally distributing the drug.

The lawsuit against Dr. Steven Holper was filed Feb. 27 in Nevada state court by Diana Hampton’s ex-husband, Henderson police Lt. Scott Hampton, and her two children, ages 14 and 12.

A message left Wednesday at Holper’s medical office was not immediately returned. Court records do not indicate if he has a lawyer in the civil lawsuit.

Holper, 66, was indicted last month by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas on seven charges of unlawful distribution of fentanyl and 22 counts of providing false statements to Medicare and private health insurance companies. He pleaded not guilty to all 29 charges and was freed pending trial in April 2018.

A federal public defender who represented him did not immediately respond to a message.

Diana Hampton was 50 when she died in March 2016 of severe sepsis following an arm infection, according to the Clark County coroner. Fentanyl in Hampton’s system was listed as a contributing cause of death, which was ruled accidental.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the wrongful death case alleges that Holper improperly provided Hampton with the fentanyl cancer treatment painkiller known as Subsys even though she did not have cancer.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and up to 60 percent more powerful than heroin.

Attorney Sigal Chattah, representing the Hampton family, said in the complaint that hundreds of Subsys canisters were found in Hampton’s bedroom, bathroom and vehicle. The complaint alleges that if Hampton had not been provided the drug she would not have died.

Hampton worked for a time as a strip club dancer before going to law school and passing the bar. She served as deputy Henderson city attorney before running for judge. She and Scott Hampton divorced in 2014.

Diana Hampton became the first elected female Henderson Municipal Court judge in 2005 and was re-elected in 2011 to a six-year term. The court hears misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases.


Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal,