Judge awards $11 million to family in fatal kratom incident, mourning the tragic loss of Boynton Beach woman
Family members of a woman who died from kratom have been awarded $11 million in a federal wrongful death lawsuit.
In a federal wrongful death lawsuit, the family of a woman who died from kratom has been awarded $11 million. The judgment was issued by Circuit Judge Donald Middlebrooks against Grow, LLC, and Sean Michael Harder, owner and operator of The Kratom Distro. The lawsuit was filed by the family of Krystal Talavera, a 39-year-old mother of four from Boynton Beach, who died from kratom-induced complications. The judge emphasized that no amount of damages can truly compensate for the loss, but this decision is in line with previous cases.
The breakdown of the award includes $4,642,895.70 for the estate of Krystal Talavera, $1 million for her son Devin Filippelli, and $2 million for her other three children. Talavera's lawyers presented witnesses and evidence to demonstrate the impact and cost of her death on her surviving children. Filippelli testified in court about the loss of his mother, who passed away on Father's Day, the day after his high school graduation. He shared the pain he and his siblings are going through, particularly his 6-year-old brother who keeps asking when their mother will return.
Krystal's ex-husband, Benny Flores, also spoke about the emotional toll on their two young sons. He described how the 6-year-old constantly asks about his mother's return. Biaggio Vultaggio, Krystal's partner and father of her youngest son, recalled the heartbreaking moment he found Krystal collapsed on the floor while their 14-month-old baby played nearby. The scene included a hot cup of coffee and an open bag of "Space Dust," a kratom-derived product.
Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a natural plant originating from Southeast Asia that is commonly sold as a supplement in the United States. It is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2019, the FDA tested 30 kratom products and found "significant levels" of lead and nickel, which could potentially lead to heavy metal poisoning with long-term consumption.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of 27,338 overdose deaths from July 2016 to December 2017, 152 (0.56%) tested positive for kratom in postmortem toxicology reports. The complaint stated that high concentrations of mitragynine, a compound found in kratom, can cause opioid-like effects and respiratory failure.
Krystal Talavera, who worked as a registered nurse at Trustbridge Hospice Care, was taken to Bethesda Hospital East in Boynton Beach, where she was pronounced dead. Her lawyer, Tamara Williams, expressed hope that the $11 million judgment would serve as a wake-up call to the kratom industry regarding the dangers of this unregulated substance. Attorney Michael Cowgill also emphasized the need for government representatives to take action to protect individuals addicted to kratom and prevent unnecessary overdose deaths.
This recent judgment follows another successful kratom wrongful death lawsuit in Washington state, where mctlaw attorneys won a $2.5 million jury verdict. These cases highlight the urgent need for regulation and awareness surrounding the risks associated with kratom use.