TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Family members of three people killed in a car accident caused by a man high on synthetic marijuana have gone to the Florida Supreme Court in a lawsuit seeking to hold liable the manufacturer of the product known as “spice.”
Family members of Shakelia Vickers, Vincent Vickers and Tyler Biggins, who were killed in the 2012 crash in Leon County, filed a notice this week at the Supreme Court after the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in June that the spice manufacturer DZE Corp. should not be held liable.
The deaths occurred after Christopher Generoso got high on spice and drove at high speed into a car carrying the victims.
Generoso, now 29, was convicted of vehicular homicide and is an inmate at Everglades Correctional Institution, according to Department of Corrections records.
The families filed a civil lawsuit against Generoso and DZE, with a Leon County jury siding with the plaintiffs and finding DZE 65 percent at fault and Generoso 35 percent at fault.
A circuit judge also rejected a request from DZE for a directed verdict in its favor. But a three-judge panel of the appeals court in June overturned that decision and said DZE should receive a directed verdict.
The panel said Generoso’s “criminal conduct was the sole proximate cause” of the deaths under state law.
“DZE correctly argues that there can be no liability to a third party that was not directly impacted by DZE’s product, where another party voluntarily consumed appellant’s (DZE’s) product to become intoxicated and made the illegal decision to drive,” the appeals-court ruling said.
“As a matter of law, Generoso’s conduct was the sole superseding proximate cause of the accident that resulted in the tragic deaths of appellees’ (the family members’) decedents.
The trial court, therefore, erred in allowing the jury to decide otherwise.” As is common, the notice filed at the Supreme Court this week does not detail arguments that the plaintiffs will make.
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