The Atlanta Injury News Blog

Huffing Dust Cleaner Kills Forsyth Teen

At his friend's house near Lake Lanier, a 15-year-old smoked pot, drank bourbon, took prescription meds, and huffed dust cleaner before he died, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The death, which occurred in the home of Robert Lancaster and Laura Lancaster, led to an investigation into the condition of the house, which was found to be deplorable and decrepit. There were dead animals, feces, and bugs everywhere. As a result, Robert Lancaster and Laura Lancaster were charged with cruelty to children.

Meanwhile, investigation into the huffing dust cleaner incident continues, and an autopsy is being performed which should shed further light on exactly what happened. Depending on what is discovered, more criminal charges could be leveled against the Lancasters.

That investigation will also be of use to the survivors of the dead Forsyth teen, as it may allow them to get enough information to consider a personal injury lawsuit. And one of the theories they might argue under would be social host liability.

Most states have laws, either through the case law or by act of the legislature, holding party hosts liable for any alcohol-related injuries that occur as a result of providing alcohol to minors. This includes injuries to the minor as well as any other individuals whose injuries or death resulted from the minor being provided with alcohol.

Some states have more general social host liability laws, which are not limited to just minors but to anyone who was encouraged or allowed to drink excessively to the point where he or she was injured or killed, or caused another's injury or death.

To be liable under social host laws, in many states, the host must have recognized that the guest was intoxicated and should not have been served more alcohol. Such laws also apply to other intoxicating substances. In this instance, would that apply to dust cleaner? It will reamain to be seen when the parties involved and possibly even the courts begin to sort out the tragic death.

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