Mr. Kasey shared his Oxycontin with another, who gave it to her boyfriend (at the same party) who it turn consumed the drug with alcohol. The recepient/user died in his sleep from the combination of the drugs. His mother sued Kasey.
Kasey defended by arguing that he did not owe a duty of care to the decedent and that his conduct was not the proximate cause of the death.
The Arizona Court of Appeals held that a duty was present, saying as follows:
“We conclude, on this record, that Kasey owed a duty to Followill when he gave the pills to Watters [the decedent’s girlfriend]. Our recognition of a duty is based on the totality of the circumstances as reflected in the following factors: (1) the relationship that existed between Kasey and Followill, (2) the foreseeability of harm to a foreseeable victim as a result of Kasey giving eight pills to Watters, and (3) the presence of statutes making it unlawful to furnish one’s prescription drugs to another person not covered by the prescription.”
On the issue of proximate cause, the Court said that the acts of the girlfriend and the decedent were intervening causes but did not rise to the superceding causes as a matter of law.
They remanded the case for trial.
The case is Gipson v. Kasey, No. 1 CA-CV 05-0119, filed on March 2, 2006. Read it here.