Court documents were released on Thursday that reveal the family of the late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell settled in the ongoing legal battle with a doctor they claim overprescribed Cornell drugs before his death. The parties filed the documents in April. An essential aspect of the agreement, the documents claimed, is the minimization of publicity and the maintenance of confidentiality.

The Cornell family, which includes widow Vicky Cornell and their two children, Toni and Christopher Nicholas Cornell, claims that Dr. Robert Koblin prescribed the anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam, knowing that Chris had a serious history of substance abuse. They alleged that he exhibited erratic behavior leading up to his death in 2017 at age 52.

At the time of his passing, coroner’s investigators ruled Cornell’s death a suicide by hanging. Though they found the presence of Lorazepam, also known by the brand name Ativan, barbiturates, and the anti-opioid drug Naloxone, investigators did not cite them as a cause of the musician’s death.

The lawsuit said that Koblin and his Beverly Hills office “negligently and repeatedly” prescribed “dangerous mind-altering controlled substances to Chris Cornell which impaired Mr. Cornell’s cognition, clouded his judgment, and caused him to engage in dangerous impulsive behaviors that he was unable to control, costing him his life.” The Cornell family believes that Chris would never intentionally take his own life. Vicky Cornell said that he “wasn’t himself during his final hours” and that it was clear “something was very off.”

Koblin and his attorney responded, denying any malpractice or culpability.

The two parties reached their settlement on April 2. The court filing said, “After years of litigation and settlement negotiations, Plaintiffs and Defendants… have reached a confidential settlement agreement to resolve all claims.”

A judge still has to approve the part of the settlement that concerns the children, both minors. If not, the documents say the lawsuit will proceed to trial. The parties have tried to maintain confidentiality as the children are involved. The court filing said that the case “has received significant media coverage and attention from fans of Mr. Cornell and allies of the Plaintiffs…. Unfortunately, as with many celebrity cases, this action has also attracted the attention of troubled individuals who have harassed Plaintiffs, including threatening the life and safety of Plaintiffs Toni Cornell and Christopher Nicholas Cornell.”


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Cornell’s band Soundgarden emerged as one of the most popular groups from the Seattle grunge scene, alongside Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Nirvana. Soundgarden has won three Grammys and 15 awards in total, due in large part to Cornell’s signature wailing voice. The New York Times music critic Jon Pareles commented that Cornell’s voice “admitted no weakness” despite his extensive range.

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