The Sacramento Bee reported last week a story about Jason Starn. Mr. Starn is a Modesto resident and a former law student who filed a lawsuit last June against three stores who sold him nitrous oxide. While using the nitrous oxide Mr. Starn suffered a seizure, which in turn caused him to lose all feeling from the rib cage down. His wife took him to the hospital and doctors determined that he had suffered a degenration of his spinal cord related to his abuse of nitrous oxide. The numbness lasted for months and Mr. Starns still needs a walker to get around.
Mr. Starn’s is quoted in the Bee article as saying, “I want to go ahead and sue them and I want to tell the story, and I want to sue, not just for my own injuries, but on behalf of all those who have been injured or could be injured.” The lawsuit was filed in June 2012 and Starn’s lawyer is suing under Business and Profession Code provisions against mislabeling products.
In court filings, lawyers representing the two of the stores who were sued stated that if Starn’s suffered injuries, it was the result of his own negligence and that Starn misused the product and assumed his own risk.
In California, there are no laws that prohibit possession of nitrous oxide, but statutes ban its sale to minors.
Starn’s lawsuit is just another chapter in a long history of lawsuits that throw the concept of personal responsibility to the wind. Even Starn’s lawsuit claims 12 million people have used the product to get high. However, I doubt all 12 million filed a lawsuit. Come on Mr. Starn, if you had not been abusing a product, we would not be having this discussion.