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Pharmacist sued over 2 deaths

Parents of two teens who died at the man's house say he negligently kept drugs there.

By TIM GRANT

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 25, 2001


CARROLLWOOD -- A year after two Carrollwood teenagers died from overdosing on several drugs, their parents are suing the man who owns the house where they died.

Leslie Lain and Gary Davis filed separate lawsuits against Thomas Faust in Circuit Court, alleging that Christopher Lain and Scott Davis died from drugs that Faust was storing at the house.

Faust is a pharmacist and owner of a drugstore that had closed. The parents allege he played a role in the deaths by storing the drugs in the home.

"We are alleging that there were pharmaceutical drugs at the house and some were found in a car on the premises," said attorney J.D. Dowell. "We believe they should not have been there in light of the fact that Mr. Faust is a pharmacist and well aware of the dangers."

Lain, 16, and Davis, 19, died on July 9, 2000, from a combination of codeine, Dilaudid and a rave drug known as ecstasy.

Both teens had stayed overnight at the home of Jeremiah Faust, a 19-year-old friend, who lives at 17209 Gunn Highway in Odessa. Around noon that day, the bodies of Lain and Davis were found on couches after Davis' father went to the home to check on his son. Jeremiah Faust was not harmed.

Thomas Faust could not be reached for comment Monday about the lawsuits, which were filed July 12. He was not at the house when the deaths occurred.

Faust owns Midway Drugs, a defunct pharmacy on N Mobley Road in Odessa.

Sheriff's deputies determined that the deaths were accidental, but forwarded the file to state prosecutors as a courtesy, said sheriff's spokesman Rod Reder. Assistant State Attorney Robin Fuson said the case is under investigation and declined to comment further.

Reder said deputies who investigated the deaths found a safe where Faust kept the drugs. The safe had been damaged and opened.

"The hinges had been broken off and the dial was damaged," Reder said. "Somebody obviously did that, but we don't know who."

The lawsuit alleges that the elder Faust was negligent by not providing a safe home and properly supervising the teens. The parents allege that Faust allowed the drugs to remain at the home and be accessible to residents and guests there.

- Tim Grant can be reached at 813-226-3471, or grant@sptimes.com.

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