Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Premises Liability Case in Recent Drug Overdose Case

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case brought by the parents of an 18-year-old man who died of an illegal drug overdose while at the defendant’s residence. The case presents interesting issues that may arise in Maryland personal injury cases in that it illustrates the well-known dangers of illegal drugs as well as touches on the theory of premises liability as it pertains to drug use in a defendant’s home.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the surviving loved one of a young man who died of an illegal overdose of illegally obtained drugs. The evidence presented at trial showed that the victim met up with one of the tenants who lived in the defendant’s home, purchased ketamine and acid, and brought the drugs back to the defendant’s home.

The facts were somewhat disputed, but it was uncontested that several people, including the plaintiffs’ son, took the ketamine. Within minutes, the plaintiffs’ son began acting odd, and he was told to leave by the tenants. The young man was found dead later that day. The cause of death was determined to be an overdose of ketamine.

The plaintiffs filed a premises liability lawsuit against the defendant, who owned the home where the overdose occurred. However, he had not lived in the home for several years prior to the incident. The tenants who occupied the house were the defendant’s former girlfriend and her two children. Although the romantic relationship had ended, the tenant remained an employee of the defendant and was permitted to live on the property rent-free. There was no lease or written agreement.

The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant failed to keep the property in a “reasonably safe condition” by keeping it free from “illegal and dangerous activity.” The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant’s failure to exercise due care in the management of his property exposed him to financial liability for the loss of their son.

The court, however, disagreed. The court explained that while there is a “great public interest in reducing the scourge of addiction,” absent a clear indication from lawmakers that a landowner has a duty to ferret out illegal drug use, the court was unwilling to impose such liability. The court distinguished this type of case from a situation in which a landowner knowingly allows guests to enter his home for the purposes of a party where alcohol is consumed. The court explained that the main difference is that in this case, the defendant was not present and was not aware of the presence of the ketamine that resulted in the overdose.

Have You Lost a Loved One to Addiction?

Over the past few years, drug addiction has grown to become an epidemic. While the above case resulted in the plaintiffs’ case being dismissed, in other cases with similar facts, there may be additional responsible parties. Moreover, it is in this situation in which laws are often changed. The dedicated Maryland pharmacy error lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience arguing cutting-edge legal issues on behalf of their clients. We provide free consultations to evaluate prospective clients’ cases, and we will not collect any payment unless we are able to help you recover compensation for your losses. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 today.

More Blog Posts:

New Report Indicates Prescription Errors May Claim over 100,000 Lives Annually, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, May 15, 2018.

Pharmacy Errors May Not Initially Be Easy to Detect, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, May 1, 2018.

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