The family of a 19-month-old girl filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Airbnb after their toddler died of an apparent fentanyl overdose while staying at a vacation rental property in Florida.
Boris and Lydie Lavenir checked their family into a four-bedroom, two-bath lake house rental in Wellington, Florida, for three nights from August 6 to August 9, 2021, NBC reported. The following day, their toddler Enora napped with one of her three siblings on a bed in the house after watching television and playtime.
Over an hour later, Enora’s mother checked on her and “found her unresponsive and foaming at the mouth,” according to the lawsuit. She performed chest compressions on Enora as the family called 911.
“Then I heard, ‘Enora is dead! Enora is dead,'” Lavenir told NBC.
Enora’s family initially believed their child had died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, more commonly known as SIDS, in which approximately 3,400 babies under age 1 die expectedly each year. But a Palm Beach County medical examiner and an independent toxicology report revealed Enora had a lethal amount of fentanyl in her system, according to The Washington Post.
It remains unclear how Enora ingested the deadly opioid, which caused more than 56,000 deaths from overdoses in the U.S. in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There were no signs of any narcotic medications or any illegal narcotics at the crime scene and her death was listed as accidental,” the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in an incident report.
The report also said Enora’s baby formula and her parents tested negative for drugs.
According to NBC, the complaint also accuses the rental’s owner and manager, the prior guest who booked the space through VRBO vacation rentals, of negligence.
A sheriff’s report indicated a resident in the neighborhood of the rental property said a “large party” took place at the lake house two nights before the Lavenir family checked in. The property has been the home of “parties and rentals prior to the family’s stay at the location.”
The lawsuit alleges that Airbnb failed to ensure the property was safe before the Lavenir family arrived.
“In reality, the subject premises had a history of being used as a party house and had just days earlier hosted a group of approximately a dozen adults who used cocaine and other drugs, including but not limited to fentanyl throughout the home,” the suit says.
“It’s like we fell into a trap,” Enora’s father, Boris, told The Post.
Thomas Scolaro, the Miami-based attorney representing the family, told The Post he believes partygoers brought fentanyl into the house.
“The only thing we have here is our common sense,” Scolaro said. “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.”
The Lavenir family hopes to draw attention to the dangers of fentanyl after losing their daughter Enora.
“Fentanyl is incredibly potent. So you’re only talking about a couple of grains of salt-size particles, which would result in this level of toxicity to a 19-month-old baby,” Scolaro told NBC.
“I’m not surprised that the sheriff’s office did not find a vast reserve of fentanyl in the unit,” Scolaro added. “But what we do know based on the timeline, and based on the statements from these prior renters, is there were drugs in that unit and the child was not exposed anywhere else, period. There’s literally no other conceivable place this child could have encountered this fentanyl but in that rental home.”
A spokesperson for Airbnb told media outlets the company offers its condolences to the Lavenir family in a statement.
“Our hearts go out to the Lavenir family and their loved ones for their devastating loss,” the spokesperson said.
Airbnb has not yet filed a response in court to the lawsuit.