According to The Des Moines Register, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday, February 16 in the lawsuit filed against a Des Moines pain doctor in the fatal overdose of SLIPKNOT bassist Paul Gray. The seven justices will listen to attorneys representing Gray's estate and Dr. Daniel Baldi, who was accused of causing the deaths of Gray and eight others with his careless prescription habits.
The question to be decided on Tuesday is how much time survivors have to file a lawsuit if they suspect a family member's death was caused by negligence or some other wrongful action by a doctor.
Gray's widow filed a lawsuit against Baldi four years after her husband's death but a district judge dismissed the case because he said it was filed two years too late under state rules.
Paul Gray was found dead on May 24, 2010 after overdosing on drugs in a hotel room in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, where he and SLIPKNOT were based. Brenna filed her suit on February 14, 2014.
Brenna Gray's lawyer, Bruce Stoltze, argued that the statute of limitations shouldn't have started until Gray had reason to believe Baldi caused her husband's death, but the judge disagreed.
Baldi was acquitted in May 2014 of seven criminal counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Paul was 38 years old at the time of his death. He left behind his widow and a daughter, October, who was born three months after his passing.
Brenna Gray testified during Baldi's trial that Paul's final weeks were a "blur of extreme drug abuse," which neither his doctor nor his bandmates would help his wife confront. She said that Baldi continued to prescribe Xanax for Paul despite knowing that the musician was a drug addict, saying, "I just wasn't really sure why he was on it, why he needed it along with the medication he was taking for addiction."
Baldi's lawyer cross-examined Brenna, asking her if she was aware that her husband overdosed on the painkillers fentanyl and morphine, neither of which Baldi ever prescribed to him.
Brenna also testified that she tried reaching out to some of Paul's bandmates in SLIPKNOT just days prior to the bassist's death but that none of them wanted to get involved. She revealed, "One was playing golf two minutes away from our house but couldn't come. Nobody else cared, nobody was involved. They told me it was my problem."
Asked if Brenna was wrong in making those comments during the trial, SLIPKNOT guitarist Jim Root told Sweden Rock Magazine: "I think she's probably gonna say whatever it is she thinks she needs to say for the lawyers to hear. You know, I mean, Paul was our brother; Paul was very close to us. We tried putting Paul into treatment numerous times, we took him off of tours and we had interventions with him. I would stop by at Paul's house with my ex-girlfriend and he'd still be in bed.
"There are a lot of circumstances and dynamics there and I'm sure that she is hurting very deeply and trying to find some way to maybe put the blame somewhere.
"At the end of the day, Paul was sick and Paul had a problem and we were there for Paul.
"Paul wasn't always available.
"I feel bad. I feel bad for the whole situation.
"Brenna's always got brothers that she can count on, and October will always have eight uncles that give a shit."
Pressed on whether he was saying the other members of SLIPKNOT did in fact care enough about Paul's well being, Root replied: "Absolutely. He's our friend, he's our brother, he's our compatriot. He's always gonna be a part of our lives no matter what.
"What can you do? If you have a sickness, you gotta fix that sickness, but you can't keep putting somebody into treatment over and over and over again. What are you supposed to do? Babysit someone and live with them? What can you do?"
Brenna revealed in a 2011 interview with Revolver that her husband had agreed to get help for his drug problem just one day before he died.
After a lengthy hiatus, SLIPKNOT resumed touring in 2011, with Donnie Steele playing bass live. The band in 2014 secured the services of British musician Alessandro "Vman" Venturella to play bass on tour.