Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania parents blame treatment center for son's drug death

Liability claims are initiated by injured parties. Compensation is ordered by Pittsburgh juries when a defendant's negligence is responsible for harm. In Pennsylvania wrongful death actions, monetary relief is sought for losses suffered by a victim's closest surviving family members.

A Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, man was convicted of a drug possession charge in 2011 and placed on probation. After a subsequent arrest on a more severe drug charge, a court ordered the 25-year-old man to make daily visits to a Greensburg day reporting center. The drug treatment and testing facility is operated by Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services and allotted state funds through the Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission.

During 2011, the day reporting center was forced to shut down following a police raid. County investigators arrested nearly two dozen clients for drug trafficking and discovered 15 others failed drug tests. The center 's closure was temporary.

The Unity drug offender visited the treatment center in 2012. A wrongful death lawsuit stated the recovering addict bought heroin from a drug dealer outside the day reporting center and later died of an overdose. The complaint blames the treatment center and related agencies for negligent security and failing to keep drug traffickers off the premises, away from vulnerable clients.

The lawsuit alleges that the human services agency did not adequately train probation officers or monitor clients' activities. The lack of security measures and surveillance cameras reportedly encouraged dealers to sell drugs openly on the premises. The center also was accused of permitting clients to use cellphones, possess drugs and cheat on urine tests.

The complaint named the day reporting center's operator, along with the head of the county's adult probation program and the drug and alcohol commission. Reports did not specify the parents' losses or compensation sought. Survivors frequently request damages for a loved one's funeral and last medical expenses, the deprivation of the decedent's wages and emotional anguish.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Overdose victim's parents sue Westmoreland County, day reporting center" Richard Gazarik, May. 02, 2014

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