A state appellate court has thrown out a lawsuit by the children of one of Medford pharmacy killer David Laffer's victims against a doctor who prescribed Laffer hundreds of pain pills.

The Appellate Division Second Department ruled that Stan Xuhui Li, who is serving 10 2/3 to 20 years in prison for recklessly prescribing oxycodone and other drugs, "did not owe a duty" to the four people Laffer killed in Haven Drugs on Father's Day 2011 or to the public.

The ruling came while dismissing a suit against Li by the children of one of the victims, Jaime Taccetta, 33.

The court said Taccetta was a stranger to Li. "Additionally, Li did not have the authority or the ability to control Laffer and to protect against the risk of harm," the decision says. "In essence, the plaintiffs are arguing that Li was in the best position to prevent the harm by not prescribing narcotics to Laffer."

But the court said if Li had no control over Laffer, he can't be held responsible for what Laffer did.

"We're disappointed with the decision," said one of the children's attorneys, Vesselin Mitev of Miller Place.

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He said state Supreme Court Justice William Rebolini had it right when he refused to dismiss the case, finding that doctors have a duty to society to not overprescribe narcotics.

"We can find no more stark case than this that screams out for redress," Mitev said.

Li's appellate attorney, Caryn Lilling, did not respond to a request for comment yesterday evening.

Laffer also killed pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45; drugstore employee Jennifer Mejia, 17; and customer Bryon Sheffield, 71, while robbing the pharmacy of pain pills. He is serving life in prison without parole.