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Parents sue Airbnb after toddler dies from fentanyl left in rental

A family of a toddler who died after staying at a Florida short-term rental house claims Airbnb is responsible for the child's overdose.
Parents sue Airbnb after toddler dies from fentanyl left in rental
Posted at 2:08 PM, Mar 10, 2023

The family of a toddler who died after staying at a short-term rental house in Wellington, Florida, claims Airbnb is responsible.

After her death a year and a half ago, an autopsy foundfentanyl in 19-month-old Enora Lavenir's system.

According to the lawsuit filed by the mother of the toddler who died, Airbnb failed to sanitize the Wellington property, where the family says their child came in contact with a deadly drug.  

Lavenir was the youngest of five children on a family vacation in the summer of 2021 at the short-term rental home.

On the second day of the vacation, according to the detective's report, Enora's mother, Lydie Lavenir, took a nap.  

When she woke up after more than an hour, Lavenir checked in on her daughter and found her "blue in the face," and not breathing.  

Minutes later, at a nearby hospital, Enora was pronounced dead. 

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"Their baby girl was killed as a result of ingesting fentanyl at an Airbnb," Thomas Scolaro, the Lavenir family attorney, said. "It's one of the most hurtful, awful things that I've ever come across." 

The family believes the fentanyl residue was in the house when the Lavenirs arrived.  

A report from a Palm Beach County sheriff's detective states the man whose name was on the rental said, "The group (at the house) used cocaine in the residence."

In the suit, the family holds Airbnb responsible, citing several instances of drugs left behind by guests at properties across the U.S.  

"In reality, these places are used as party houses," Scolaro said.    

The lawsuit also said the home was not properly sanitized, stating, "Airbnb also possessed actual or constructive knowledge that the cleaning procedures it advertises and promotes for its rentals are insufficient to decontaminate a rental from fatal fentanyl."   

"A family should feel safe and secure any time they're in any sort of lodging," Scolaro said. "Airbnb promotes they're safe, secure, sanitary for families and children."    

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"This is kind of in line with American law, which is really throwing a wide net of responsibility for society's problems," West Palm Beach attorney Greg Morse, who believes the case against Airbnb and three other individuals may have challenges, said. 

One defendant in the lawsuit is the guest, who admitted drugs were used during his stay. However, in the detective's report, he also said, "There was no fentanyl in the residence."

"It's a leap of faith that the plaintiff's lawyer makes in the complaint to say, 'Common sense tells us that fentanyl was left by the previous tenants of the home,'" Morse added.    

The lawsuit also names the owner of the home and a real estate agent, whom the suit says managed the house for Airbnb rentals. 

Scripps News West Palm Beach tried to reach all parties by phone, email, and in person. Only Airbnb left a statement via email that said, "Our hearts go out to the Lavenir family and their loved ones for their devastating loss." 

Lawyers for the guest and the homeowner filed court briefings alleging that the toddler's parents should be held at least partially responsible.   

That home in Wellington is no longer listed on Airbnb.   

This article was written by Dave Bohman for Scripps News West Palm Beach.