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Judge Throws Out Two Of Four Claims In Seaver's Lawsuit

A recent ruling from a Third District Court judge has gone against the parents of a Park City teen who died in 2016.

James and Deborah Seaver filed suit against six other parents, alleging the defendant’s minor children were involved in the opioid-overdose death of their 13-year-old son Grant.

Judge Kent Holmberg ruled for the defendants, throwing out two of the claims from the Seavers. However, two other claims remain, and the case is proceeding with those.

The Seavers are suing the parents of Ryan Ainsworth, who also died from a similar overdose within a few days after his friend Grant, as well as the Moeller and Shappard families.

The defendants asked the court to throw out two claims, the first being “negligent misrepresentation.” The Seavers lawsuit argued that the other parents had a duty to not misrepresent any relevant facts, about their children procuring or distributing drugs, so that law enforcement could act to protect Grant Seaver, as well as the local community.

But the judge, in a ruling issued in late November, agreed with the defendants that they had no special relationship or fiduciary ties to the Seavers which gave them a legal duty to disclose. The judge wrote his own research didn’t find any legal authority saying there is a duty to disclose information that may possibly be life-saving.

Second, the Seavers claimed that the defendants had a strict liability and their activities were “abnormally dangerous” since they knew their children had procured and distributed drugs.

However, the defendants argued that the lawsuit didn’t identify how they individually engaged in any abnormally dangerous activity. The judge, citing previous case law, said the defendant’s awareness doesn’t amount to an ultra-hazardous or dangerous activity.

The Seavers have made two other claims—of Negligence and Negligent Supervision. The judge previously ordered that Discovery on the remainder of the case will take place through next May.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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