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United States v. Oz

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 23, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MORAN OZ (2); BABUBHAI PATEL (3); LACHLAN SCOTT MCCONNELL (6); ELIAS KARKALAS (8); PRABHAKARA RAO TUMPATI (9); Defendants.

          Jacqueline Blaesi-Freed, Linda I. Marks and Roger J. Gural for the United States of America.

          Joseph S. Friedberg, Joseph S. Friedberg, Robert D. Richman for Defendant Moran Oz.

          JaneAnne Murray, Murray Law LLC for Defendant Babubhai Patel.

          Marie Celine Pacyga and Ryan M. Pacyga, Pacyga and Associates for Defendant Lachlan Scott McConnell.

          Daniel L. Gerdts, John C. Brink for Defendant Elias Karkalas.

          James E. Ostgard, Paul Daniel Schneck for Defendant Prabhakara Rao Tumpati.

          ORDER

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' First Motion in Limine (“Defs.' Mot.”) [Doc. No. 715]. That Motion asks the Court to exclude evidence and argument in support of the counts alleging that Defendants violated the Controlled Substances Act by distributing Fioricet without valid prescriptions and through an online pharmacy that was not properly registered. (Id.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Defendants are charged with a variety of offenses related to their involvement with an online pharmacy, RX Limited (“RXL”). (See Indict. [Doc. No. 5].) In relevant part, Defendants Moran Oz, Babubhai Patel, Lachlan McConnell, and Elias Karkalas, [1] are charged with violating the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) by: (1) dispensing a drug known as Fioricet without valid prescriptions as required by 21 U.S.C. § 829(e); (2) dispensing Fioricet through RXL and its affiliates, which were not registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) as required by 21 U.S.C. § 823(f); and, (3) dispensing Fioricet through RXL, which did not display certain information on its website(s) as required by 21 U.S.C. § 831. (See Indict. at 38-41.) The Government charges that Defendants' failures to abide by the requirements of 21 U.S.C. §§ 823(f), 829(e), and 831 constituted criminal violations of 21 U.S.C. § 841(h)(1). (See id. at 40- 41.)

         Previously, certain Defendants moved to dismiss the CSA counts based on their contention that Fioricet is not a controlled substance. (See Doc. No. 340, 377, 417.) The Court rejected this argument, found that Fioricet is a controlled substance, and denied the motion. United States v. Oz, No. 13-cr-273 (SRN/JJK), 2016 WL 1183041, at *3-6 (D. Minn. Mar. 28, 2016). Defendants now argue that the Court should exclude all evidence and argument regarding the CSA charges that Fioricet was dispensed without a valid prescription and that RXL dispensed Fioricet without being registered with the DEA because Fioricet is “explicitly exempted” from those provisions of the CSA.[2] (Defs.' Mem. in Supp. of First Mot. in Limine (“Defs.' Mem. in Supp.”) at 2-3 [Doc. No. 716].) Defendants explain that this argument is different from their previous challenge to the CSA charges because “even assuming Fioricet is a controlled substance, it is still exempt from 21 U.S.C. §§ 829 and 823 and, therefore, its distribution is authorized without regard to those statutes.” (Id. at 2.)

         At a minimum, Defendants' past and present challenges to the CSA charges are closely related. Thus, the Court incorporates its previous analysis in this opinion.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Fioricet, the Controlled Substances Act, and the ...


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