FLORIDA – September 4, 2020 – According to an online news report published on Miami.cbslocal.com, a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a synthetic marijuana producer is scheduled to be heard by the Florida Supreme Court. The deadly wreck took place after a driver who used synthetic marijuana crashed at a high rate of speed into another car, killing three people.
The driver, who is currently 29, was convicted of vehicular homicide and is serving time in prison. The families of the victims, all of whom were in the other vehicle, sued the driver and the company that manufactured the marijuana product that the driver was using when he caused the wreck.
A jury in Leon County assigned 65 percent of the fault to the company, DZE. However, the company brought the case to the appellate court, where a three-judge panel ruled for DZE and stated that the court should have granted a directed verdict in favor of the manufacturer. At the appellate level, the court stated that the liability for the fatal collision was entirely that of the criminally convicted driver. In their ruling, the panel stated that the driver consumed the product willingly, and then chose to get behind the wheel in violation of the law.
Now the case is going to the Supreme Court with plaintiffs hoping for the ruling to be overturned. The plaintiff’s planned arguments have not been publicly reported, which is normal for this stage in the litigation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) writes that drivers cannot safely operate a vehicle when they are under the influence of a drug. The law prohibits individuals from driving under the influence of marijuana, methamphetamines, and opioids, along with other types of drugs, even if those substances are legal. Still, about one out of every five drivers on the road at night on the weekend is positive for drugs, according to a study conducted by the NHTSA.
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