A 2018 case involving darknet-sourced drugs in Park City, Utah has taken a new turn as a new lawsuit notice states its intent to levy responsibility to several parties if the case goes to trial.
Park City residents James and Deborah Seaver first filed a wrongful death lawsuit in September directed towards the Tor Project, two postal companies and the estate of the late Alexandre Cazes, founder of AlphaBay.
These parties, they claim, are held liable for the death of their son, Grant Seaver, who died in 2016 of a drug overdose involving U-47700.
Seaver’s friend, Ryan Ainsworth, died two days later after ingesting the same substance. The pair had apparently ordered a supply of U-47700 from the dark web.
An investigation into their deaths led to the implication of two other local teenagers who were allegedly involved in obtaining the drugs.
These teenagers’ parents are also the targets of the Seavers’ lawsuit.
The Seavers have also sued the parents of Ryan Ainsworth, claiming negligence.
Ainsworth’s father, Robert, filed a countersuit against the Seavers in September, claiming they were negligent after their son’s death by failing to warn him of his son’s risk of overdose.
The latest notice by Robert Ainsworth states its intent to allocate fault to postal service companies Express Mail Service and China Postal Express & Logistics Company, as well as the Tor Project and the estate of the late founder of AlphaBay, who died by suicide in 2017.
The fundamental issue in the fresh developments is on whether the parents of the deceased teenagers were harmed by the actions of another entity.
From their corner, the defendants plan to argue that the non-parties are the ones to assume responsibility.
As part of the new twist, five parents were enjoined in the case as defendants because of their alleged involvement in procuring drugs for teenagers within Park City, Utah.
The defendants in the case face varying accusations ranging from sale, marketing, transportation, shipment, and distribution of drugs that continue to harm minors in Utah.
Claims of Negligence
According to the notice, Ainsworth plans to subpoena the involved companies by arguing that they “caused and/or was a factor in the death of Ryan Ainsworth.”
In a separate case, the parents of Grant Seaver are anticipating punitive and exemplary damages.
James and Deborah Seaver challenged the same entities involved in the Ainsworth case to court last year on the grounds of abnormal activity, negligence and civil conspiracy.
Additionally they sued their counterpart parents in March for negligent misrepresentation, negligent supervision and strict liability due to unusually dangerous behavior.
The Seavers are quite determined to hold their fellow guardians to account.
They argue that even though the parents may have not been directly involved, they ought to have known the kind of activities their son engaged in.
As such, it was their responsibility to supervise and advise their son on the dangers of using or distributing drugs.
In a countersuit, Robert Ainsworth responded to the Seavers’ allegations by also blaming them of negligence.
Purportedly, the Seavers did not warn him that his son faced the risk of overdosing.
The Case Continues
It’s a vicious cycle of blames. Both parties are interested in obtaining compensation from their suits. It will be interesting to see whose accusation of negligence will win in the end.
Meanwhile, Summit County officials report that minors are still using the dark web to order synthetic drugs in Park City.
Despite numerous efforts by authorities to intercept the illegal shipments, there are concerns that some of the substances are already in circulation among teens.
The epidemic in the area has solicited for concerted efforts between authorities and parents.
Parents have as a result been encouraged to report any suspicious packages to law enforcement.
Summit County officials have also pledged to pursue any delinquency charges in the strongest possible way.
Because of the nature of the case, the Park City community is greatly invested in the court proceedings as well as other policing mechanisms that aim at abating the drug menace.
An unsettling question that lingers among Park City citizens is whether the desired change from using dark web markets would cease after these cases have ended.
The apparent rise in the popularity of opioids in Park City is attributable to its potency.
More teens are continuing to use it despite the fast-growing concerns of overdose worldwide.
In some jurisdictions, it is even reported that such substances as “pink” (the nickname for U-47700) have already overtaken heroin.