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On Friday September 8, 2023, a St. Louis County jury decided, after hearing all the evidence, that United Brands Products Design Development and Marketing, Inc. (an international distributor of nitrous oxide) and Coughing Cardinal, LLC (a local head shop) conspired to sell nitrous oxide—a known inhalant drug—as an inhalant to consumers, that doing so was a deliberate disregard for the safety of the public, and that conscious disregard for safety contributed to cause the death of 25-year-old Marissa Politte. The jury decided that the cost of that deliberate indifference was $ 745,000,000.

United Brands has for decades marketed and sold nitrous oxide (a food propellant) to places like Coughing Cardinal (a head shop selling drug paraphernalia), that simply have no business selling this addictive drug, in quantities that shock the conscience, while at the same time claiming that they have no idea that people are going to head shops to buy this product as an inhalant. And United Brands has done so without consequence, until now. The jury sent a message loud and clear to United Brands and the entire nitrous oxide distribution industry: Stop targeting children and young adults. Stop selling this product to smoke and head shops.

For the sake of profit, the Politte family paid the ultimate price—the loss of their daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend Marissa, who was by all accounts a modern-day saint. We hope that her life is memorialized through this verdict, and no family will ever have to live with the pain that the Politte family has lived with and will live with forever. We thank the jurors for their dedication and service and look forward to the day when nitrous oxide is off the shelves of smoke and head shops.

For additional information, contact Johnny M. Simon at The Simon Firm, jmsimon@simonlawpc.com. The Simon Law firm in St. Louis, recognized as one of the “winningest firms in the United States” by The National Law Journal. The Simon Law Firm has earned over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements nationwide since its founding in 2000.

Contact The Simon Law Firm, P.C.

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