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Mom Sues Friends of Teen Who Died at Underage Party

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The Sun Chronicle: Plainville, Mass. -- The mother of Taylor Meyer is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the people who allegedly supplied her daughter with alcohol the night she died.

Kathi Meyer

Kathi Meyer of Plainville says she is suing her daughter's "friends, and at least one parent" in connection with the death of Taylor, a 17-year-old King Philip Regional High School senior who drowned in a swamp in October 2008 following an underage drinking party at the abandoned Norfolk airport.

Her attorney, Richard Campbell of Boston, said details of the suit will be announced in a news conference today in Boston.

"Teenagers need to know that bad decisions about drinking can come with severe consequences," Kathi Meyer said Tuesday in a statement. "They also need to take responsibility for their actions."

The statement did not indicate who will be named in the lawsuit.

Brian Zuzick, then 19 of Plainville, the brother of a close friend of Taylor Meyer, was accused of giving his sister and Meyer two bottles of rum. He pleaded guilty to being a minor in possession of alcohol and paid a $50 fine.

Sean Flynn, then 21 of North Attleboro, admitted to buying the rum for Zuzick. Flynn was ordered by the court to speak to local high school students about the dangers of alcohol.

In addition, Matthew S. Dusseault, then 18, of Norfolk, was charged with providing beer for the party, although he was not directly accused of providing alcohol to Meyer. His case was continued without a finding until May 21, 2010.

Meyer wandered off from the party. Her body was discovered in a muddy area near the abandoned airport following a massive two-day search.

Campbell said Kathi Meyer has "the best of all motives" in filing the lawsuit.

Since her daughter's death, Meyer has spoken out against underage drinking, addressing students at several local high schools.

"Kathi Meyer has been a leader in trying to bring about change in high school students and their parents and the way they deal with alcohol and other substances," Campbell said. "This lawsuit is just one more step along that road."

Campbell called it "extraordinary, in my view, that following the Taylor Meyer disaster" there were several underage drinking parties, "often with the same kids."

"It's not an unfair statement to say your community has been the epicenter of bad behavior the last 18 months, 24 months," Campbell said.

Area police have cracked down on underage drinking since Taylor Meyer's death.
The attorney for Zuzick and Flynn, John J. McGlone III of Quincy, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

However, Dusseault's attorney, Edward J. Sweeney of Norwood, said he does not anticipate his client being named in the wrongful death suit.

"I stand by that he never provided alcohol to Taylor Meyer," Sweeney said. "I'm fairly certain that the case is over.

"It's all tragic. It's horrible," he said.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Brooke January 14, 2010, 3:17 PM

If her argument is that they “need to take responsibility for their actions”, then she needs to realize that that goes for her daughter as well. While I don’t condone what happened, I don’t think the kids forced her to drink and then pushed her into the swamp.

Wendi January 14, 2010, 3:42 PM

I agree with you Brooke, she should have educated her daughter better and she needs to know her daughter chose to do this. I would not allow my kids to go to that kind of party, especially by a swamp, that is just asking for trouble. I am sorry for her loss, but sueing these kids is not the answer, I think they have paid enough knowning that they lost their friend because they were are to busy partying.

Gail Cooke January 14, 2010, 10:51 PM

I agree, I think the girl who died bears the majority of the blame. Suing the kids will ruin the rest of their lives in addition to having this guilt. I believe that even teenagers have a personal responsibility to take care of themselves to an extent. It’s not like there isn’t knowledge about drinking out there if one chooses to seek it out and heed it. I don’t condone underage drinking, but to be honest, I drank when I was younger than 18 so I can’t really judge.

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