The Arkansas Supreme Court has yet to take action in that case, which is otherwise scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in circuit court, the morning after the first of the executions are scheduled to begin.
Arkansas employs potassium chloride in combination with vecuronium bromide and midazolam.
Arkansas' already compromised plan to execute eight men by the end of the month appeared to unravel Friday, with a judge blocking the use of a lethal injection drug and the state's highest court granting a stay to one of the first inmates who had been scheduled to die.
If they aren't knocked out sufficiently, they would be able to feel the pain of their lungs and hearts stopping, they say. A state court judge on Friday blocked Arkansas from using one of its three lethal injection drugs until he can determine whether it was obtained properly, and a federal judge on Saturday issued stays of all the executions.
"It is unfortunate that a USA district judge has chosen to side with the convicted prisoners in one of their many last-minute attempts to delay justice", Jude Deere, an office spokesman, said.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker, in a 101-page ruling, found the state's plan would deny the inmates their legal rights by depriving them of adequate counsel because prison officials allow only a single lawyer to be present for any execution. That plan, if carried out, would have marked the most inmates executed by a state in such a short period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. A supplier of the drug accused Arkansas of misleadingly obtaining the product, saying it wasn't sold to be used for executions.
This photo provided by Cheryl Simon shows Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part of an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion Friday, April 14, 2017 in Little Rock, Ark.
The attorney general's office says it will respond to the filing after full arguments are put before the appeals court. Some states have barred the use of the drug, and courts have reached different decisions on what inmates would have to do to suggest alternative means of execution.
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Baker ordered lawyers for the state and the death row prisoners to return to court on Monday with a revised plan for viewing the executions and having defense counsel present.
"Immediate reversal is warranted", Arkansas' solicitor general, Lee Rudofsky, wrote Saturday in the state's appeal to the St. Louis-based 8th Circuit. The court had issued the stay on Friday.
Ron McAndrew said he was particularly concerned about the psychological well-being of the handful of officials who would be involved if Arkansas were to proceed with the rapid-fire executions of several condemned men, originally set for April 17 to 27.
Arkansas hasn't executed an inmate in more than 11 years because of drug shortages and legal challenges.
The McKesson lawsuit sought to stop the use of its vecuronium bromide by Arkansas prisons in executions.
The inmates are challenging the planned execution method, and claim that the scheduling of back-to-back executions widen the probability of potential mistakes.
Arkansas' execution timeline drew condemnation from hundreds of death penalty opponents who rallied at the Capitol waving signs including a large banner that read, "We remember the victims".
Protesters gather outside the state Capitol building on Friday in Little Rock, Ark., to voice their opposition to Arkansas' seven upcoming executions.