SOURCE: Hillyard, Wahlberg, Kudla, Sloane & Woodruff

Hillyard, Wahlberg, Kudla, Sloane & Woodruff

September 23, 2013 17:41 ET

Teen's Death From Synthetic Marijuana Results in First Colorado Lawsuit -- Hillyard, Wahlberg, Kudla, Sloane & Woodruff

Mother Seeks to End Sale of Dangerous Drugs

ENGLEWOOD, CO--(Marketwired - Sep 23, 2013) - Attorney David S. Woodruff, a partner at the Denver-based law firm Hillyard, Wahlberg, Kudla, Sloane & Woodruff, L.L.P., announced that his firm has filed the first wrongful death lawsuit in Colorado against a retail store for selling synthetic marijuana known as "Spice."

Nicholas A. Colbert died at age 19 after using Spice he had purchased from a Kwik Stop convenience store in Colorado Springs in September 2011. The suit was filed in Denver District Court by attorneys Woodruff and Christopher W. Jeffress of Jeffress Law, P.C., on behalf of the teen's mother, Stephane Colbert [cq] of Colorado Springs. The suit seeks to prevent convenience stores, gas stations, and other retail outlets from selling deadly Spice and other synthetic drugs, which contain harmful, and often illegal, chemicals.

The Kwik Stop at 1125 S. Chelton Road in Colorado Springs is owned by Family Market, LLC. The suit claims Kwik Stop sold Spice to the young Colbert in a bottle labeled "Mr. Smiley," which contained chemicals banned by Colorado and federal law. The container did not identify the drug's manufacturer, did not disclose the banned and highly dangerous chemicals found in it, and did not warn of the dangers of smoking or consuming the drug, violating federal and state law. Later that same evening, after smoking the Spice, the teenager was found dead.

"Nicholas Colbert's life was ended by a dangerous drug sold over the counter at a convenience store, and we want to stop this from occurring again," said Woodruff, who specializes in medical malpractice and other complex personal injury cases. "With this lawsuit, Nick Colbert's mother is mounting a courageous battle to prevent this type of tragedy from happening to other children in Colorado and across the nation. And the first step is to stop retail stores from profiting from selling these dangerous drugs in our communities."

This "fake marijuana" is being marketed and packaged with innocuous names and bright graphics to give the misleading impression that its use is harmless, said Jeffress, who specializes in pharmaceutical litigation. "Since Spice doesn't show up in typical drug tests, it is often used by teenagers planning to enlist in the military or others whose job requires drug tests."

According to a University of Michigan study, the use of synthetic or fake marijuana has reached crisis proportions in the United States, as one of nine high school seniors has used it. In 2010, there were reports of more than 11,000 emergency room visits nationwide caused by the use of synthetic marijuana.

About Hillyard, Wahlberg, Kudla, Sloane & Woodruff

HWKS&W is one of the pre-eminent personal injury law firms in the Rocky Mountain Region, with attorneys representing clients in complex injury cases such as medical malpractice, defective products, brain and spinal cord injuries, wrongful death and birth injuries. In 2011, David S. Woodruff, a partner in the firm, earned national recognition by obtaining the largest medical malpractice arbitration award in U.S. history -- a $70 million award against a California HMO. All five of the firm's partners are named in Best Lawyers in America, and the firm is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top law firms in the nation. For information, call 303-571-5302 or visit www.denvertriallawyers.com.

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