Judge Awards $11-Million in Florida Mother’s Kratom Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Tamara Williams

(West Palm Beach, FL – July 27, 2023) A Florida judge orders a kratom distributor to pay more than $11-million dollars in a wrongful death lawsuit (US District Court, Southern District of FL, Case No. 9:22cv-81731). Judge Donald Middlebrooks issued a final default judgment against Grow, LLC, and Sean Michael Harder, owner and operator of The Kratom Distro, for the kratom-induced death of 39-year-old Krystal Talavera, a mother of four. This is one of two kratom wrongful death lawsuits in the U.S. filed by attorneys at mctlaw which have resulted in multi-million-dollar judgments in favor of families torn apart by kratom related deaths.

In his order, Judge Middlebrooks explains how he came to the $11-million-dollar judgment. “I again emphasize that no award of damages will ever be adequate and that this decision reflects nothing more than an adherence to prior cases.” Talavera’s lawyers petitioned Judge Middlebrooks to rule in their favor, providing witnesses and evidence to show the impact and cost of Krystal’s death on her surviving children.

Krystal’s family shared emotional stories about how her kratom-induced death affected them. Her oldest son, Devin Filippelli, explained in court how his mother died the day after his high school graduation, and the grief he experienced derailed his college plans.  Krystal’s ex-husband, Benny Flores talked about the pain their two young sons are going through, especially the 6-year-old who kept asking when his mother was coming back. Krystal’s partner, Biaggio Vultaggio, the father of her youngest son, recalled the heartbreaking moment he found Krystal collapsed on the floor as their 14-month-old baby played next to her body.  

 “This $11-million-dollar judgment should be a wakeup call to the kratom industry about this dangerous and unregulated substance,” says Talavera’s lawyer Tamara Williams of mctlaw. “There are families across the country who know firsthand that kratom is addictive and can be deadly.”

Attorney Michael Cowgill from mctlaw hopes this judgment gets the attention of legislators and regulators. “It’s time our government representatives act to protect the people across the country who are addicted to kratom and to protect other families from having to deal with unnecessary kratom overdose deaths,” says Cowgill. 

Last week mctlaw attorneys Talis Abolins and Michael Cowgill won a $2.5 million dollar jury verdict in another kratom wrongful death lawsuit against a kratom manufacturer in Washington state (No. 20-2-00874-08, Superior Court of WA). 

About mctlaw

The attorneys at mctlaw filed some of the first kratom wrongful death cases in the country. We are a national leader in kratom wrongful death litigation with offices in Seattle, WA; Sarasota, FL; and Washington, D.C. For questions about kratom lawsuits across the United States, contact attorneys Michael Cowgill or Tamara Williams at 888.952.5242. You can find more information about kratom lawsuits at https://www.mctlaw.com/medical-product-liability/kratom-lawsuits/

Krytal Talavera

MCTLaw Sarasota office

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