A family from Guadeloupe, a French island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, is suing Airbnb after they said their child died from being exposed to fentanyl at the property they rented.
Lydie Lavenir, the mother of 19-month-old Enora Lavenir, had booked the Wellington, Florida, rental — advertised as a “peaceful place to stay” — through the home-sharing site for a vacation in 2021, NBC News reported.
The family arrived at the property on Aug. 6, 2021. The next morning, Enora played with her four siblings before taking a nap with her older sister on one of the beds. About two hours later, Lydie Lavenir checked on her daughter and found her face blue and white foam coming from her mouth, The Washington Post reported. She performed chest compressions on her daughter as other family members called 911. Enora was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
It is not clear how the toddler ingested the powerful synthetic opioid, but according to the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office, Enora died of acute fentanyl toxicity and the manner of the child’s death was accidental, NBC News reported.
An investigation did not find drugs in the family’s belongings and both parents tested negative, the Post reported. Police also interviewed a previous renter who admitted to throwing a party where cocaine was present.
A spokesperson with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said the criminal case is closed pending new information.
But the family is not stopping trying to seek justice for their daughter.
In a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Enora’s family in December, the family alleges that the four-bedroom, two-bath lake home had a history of being used as a party house, NBC News reported.
The lawsuit claims that someone had thrown a party days before the Lavenirs started their stay and drugs were used, exposing Enora to fentanyl — a drug that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
The suit accuses not only Airbnb, but also the owner of the property, the property manager and the previous renter, of negligence in Enora’s death, NBC News reported.
But the case may not make it to court.
Lars Noah, a law professor at the University of Florida, told The Washington Post that since the family cannot determine where the fentanyl came from, the case is not likely to proceed.
The family’s attorney, however, said this is a case of common sense.
“The only thing we have here is our common sense,” Thomas Scolaro said, according to the newspaper. “It was definitely in that unit, that Airbnb. Which particular person left the drugs is frankly not anything I’m trying to prove. What I want to show is Airbnb provided no cleanup, no warning, no measure of safety for the family.”
Airbnb, which has not filed a response in court, told the Post, “Our hearts go out to the Lavenir family and their loved ones for their devastating loss.”
While the Lavenirs used Airbnb to book the property rental, the previous renter had booked it through Vrbo and said he cannot be held liable for what happened after he left, including if it was cleaned and if anyone else was in the home. Vrbo has not responded to the Post’s request for comment on the case as of Tuesday morning.
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