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updated: 12/15/2010 12:24 PM

Lake Co. Coroner sued over methadone clinic-related death

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  • Dr. Richard L. Keller

    Dr. Richard L. Keller


The survivors of a Lindenhurst man who died in 2008 after being treated at a Waukegan methadone clinic have filed a wrongful-death suit against Lake County Coroner Dr. Richard Keller.

The suit, which does not name Keller as a defendant in his official capacity nor does it name Lake County, charges Steven Vaughn, 30, was improperly supplied with methadone during two visits to the Green Dragonfly clinic, where Keller served as medical director.

Keller declined to comment on the suit Wednesday, and the former owners of the clinic, who operated a business called The Illinois Medical Assistance Program, could not be reached for comment.

The suit, filed by Vaughn's mother Jill Vaughn acting as a special administrator for her son's estate, claims Vaughn was given methadone Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, 2008 after going to the clinic and claiming to be a heroin addict.

Vaughn was actually addicted to the anti-anxiety medicine Xanax and should not have mixed methadone with that drug, according to officials at the Lake County state's attorney's office who are investigating the death.

Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix declined to comment on the ongoing investigation Wednesday.

The lawsuit claims Keller and the clinic improperly prescribed the methadone Vaughn took, improperly increased the dosage after his first visit and failed to do lab tests or a medical exam that would have determined what drug Vaughn was taking.

Keller resigned as medical director of the clinic in August 2009 and the clinic closed about a week later.

The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages and is set for a scheduling conference March 3 before Circuit Judge David Hall.