The parents of a Park City teenager who died in 2016 from overdosing on a synthetic opioid are suing the companies that helped bring the drugs from China into Utah.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Utah’s U.S. District Court, argues the now-defunct online darknet (a restricted access and covert Internet network) market AlphaBay and the estate of its deceased founder, Alexandre Cazes, in addition to The Onion Router (or TOR) darknet web browser and China Postal Express & Logistics, a postal service, are liable for 13-year-old Grant Seaver’s death. Seaver’s friend Ryan Ainsworth, also 13, died within two days of Seaver in September 2016 after they both ingested the synthetic drug, called “pink,” “pinky” and “U-47700.”
Seaver’s parents, James and Deborah, have already sued Ainsworth’s parents, in addition to the parents of another teenage boy and a 17-year-old girl who was criminally charged in July for allegedly ordering more drugs from the internet to be shipped to her. That lawsuit alleges the parents knew their children were ordering drugs off the web and sharing them with friends, but they didn’t report the behavior to police.
The new lawsuit outlines the process through which drugs are brought into the country through the darkweb, including using the anonymous TOR browser to access the marketplace and requring cryptocurrencies (incognito digital currencies) as payment.
The lawsuit alleges the various companies are responsible for Seaver’s death because each had a “duty to place safe products into the stream of commerce” and failed because they knew U-47700 was unreasonably dangerous and didn’t attempt to warn consumers.
Seaver’s parents are asking for more than $10 million, including damages for emotional distress and their son’s wrongful death and medical, funeral and cremation expenses.
Attorneys for the Seavers and representatives for the TOR browser did not immediately respond to The Salt Lake Tribune’s request for comment Friday night. The Tribune was unable to contact AlphaBay, Cazes’ estate or the Chinese postal service.