Attorney David S. Woodruff of Hillyard, Wahlberg, Kudla, Sloane & Woodruff, his law firm filed in Denver District Court last week on behalf of Stephane Colbert, mother of Nicholas A. Colbert, who died at age 19 after using Spice he had purchased from a Kwik Stop convenience store in Colorado Springs in September 2011.
The suit is an effort to stop convenience stores, gas stations, and other retail outlets from selling deadly Spice and other synthetic drugs, which contain harmful, and often illegal, chemicals, Woodruff said.
The Kwik Stop at 1125 S. Chelton Road in Colorado Springs is owned by Family Market, L.L.C. The suit claims Kwik Stop store owners sold Spice to the young Colbert in a bottle labeled “Mr. Smiley,” which contained chemicals that had been banned and were illegal in Colorado.
The bottle did not identify the identity of the manufacturer of the drug, did not identify that it contained banned and highly dangerous chemicals, and did not warn of the dangers of smoking or consuming the drug, as required by federal and state laws, Woodruff said. Later that same evening, after smoking the Spice, the teenager was found dead.
“Nicholas Colbert’s life was ended by a dangerous drug sold over the counter at a convenience store, and we want to stop this from occurring again,” said Woodruff, who specializes in medical malpractice and other complex personal injury cases. “With this lawsuit, Nick Colbert’s mother is mounting a courageous battle to prevent this type of disaster from happening to other children in Colorado and across the nation. And the first step is to stop retail stores from profiting from selling these dangerous drugs to kids.”
With psychoactive effects similar to those found in substances obtained for illegal drug use, this “fake marijuana” is being marketed and packaged with innocuous names and bright graphics to give the misleading impression that its use is harmless, Woodruff added.
According to a University of Michigan study, the use of synthetic or fake marijuana has reached crisis proportions in the United States, as one of nine high school seniors has used it. In 2010, there were reports of more than 11,000 emergency room visits nationwide caused by the use of synthetic marijuana.