Defendants in lawsuit claim dark web companies, postal services at fault for teen’s death
February 26, 2019
The defendants in a lawsuit filed by the parents of Grant Seaver, one of two Park City teens who died of drug overdoses in 2016, recently joined a notice of intent to allocate fault to parties not named in the suit.
The notice was first filed in 3rd District Court in November by Robert Ainsworth, the father of Ryan Ainsworth, who died of an overdose two days after Seaver. The notice informs the plaintiffs of the defendants' plan of action if the case goes to trial. The document shows the defendants intend to place the fault for Seaver's death on: the postal service companies China Postal Express & Logistics Company and Express Mail Service; The Tor Project, Inc., a software that enables access to the dark web; and the estate of the deceased Alexandre Cazes, who founded the now-defunct online dark web market AlphaBay, according to court documents.
If the lawsuit goes to trial, jurors will be asked to decide whether Seaver's parents were harmed and if anyone is at fault for the harm. The defendants plan to argue the fault falls on the non-parties.
All five other defendants joined Ainsworth's notice over the last two months. The defendants are the parents of teens allegedly involved in procuring the drugs that led to the death of the two 13-year-old boys, who overdosed after ingesting the drug U-4770, commonly called pink. Their deaths, in September of 2016, shook the Park City community.
Ainsworth claims in court documents that China Postal Express & Logistics Company, Express Mail Service, The Tor Project and the estate of Alexandre Cazes were involved in marketing, distributing, selling, shipping and transporting the drugs that killed Seaver. The drugs were ordered off the dark web and shipped to Park City from China, according to court documents.
The documents claim the services rendered by the companies "caused and/or contributed to the death of Grant Seaver."
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James and Deborah Seaver, the parents of Grant Seaver, filed a separate lawsuit in Utah's U.S. District Court in September against the same companies included in the Ainsworth notice. According to court documents, the lawsuit accuses the companies of negligence, abnormally dangerous activity and civil conspiracy. The Seavers are seeking damages of more than $10 million in that case.
The Seavers filed the lawsuit against the parents of the teens in March. The Seavers sued the defendants for negligence, negligent supervision, negligent misrepresentation and strict liability based on abnormally dangerous behavior. In December, a 3rd District Court Judge dismissed the claims for negligent misrepresentation and strict liability based on abnormally dangerous behavior.
In the lawsuit, the Seavers claim the defendants knew or should have known about their childrens' drug involvement. They also claim in the lawsuit the defendants "had a duty to supervise and advise their minor children in order to prevent them from procuring and distributing lethal drugs."
The Seavers are asking for damages, including punitive or exemplary damages.
Robert Ainsworth also filed a countersuit against the Seavers in September. He claims in the suit that the Seavers were negligent after the death of Grant Seaver and should have warned him about the risk of his son overdosing. He is asking for relief for medical and funeral expenses and loss of companionship, among other things.
The attorneys for Robert Ainsworth did not respond to a request for comment.