Flex Spa (Flexeco Incorporated, DBA as Flex Spas LA), the Los Angeles gay men’s bathhouse located at 4424 Melrose Ave, is being sued in relation to the death of Martin P. O’Toole, a man who died of a meth drug overdose on October 15, 2019, while he was a patron at the sex spa. His family is suing Flexeco Incorporated, et al, for wrongful death and survival action damages. A dollar amount has not been disclosed. The case is still pending. Martin was 57-years old at the time of his death.
According to court filings in Los Angeles Superior Court, on October 14, 2021, Plaintiffs Martin F. O’Toole, individually and as Successor-in-Interest to The Estate of Martin P. O’Toole (“Martin”) and Mary Lou O’Toole (“Mary”) filed an action against Defendants Flexeco Incorporated (“Flexeco”) Victor Gil Neyra (“Neyra”) and Eric Friedrichsen, M.D. (“Friedrichsen”) for negligence (wrongful death) and negligent hiring, retention, supervision and training (wrongful death).
The plaintiffs allege that decedent Martin P. O’Toole, was found unconscious by Friedrichsen while Martin was a customer at Flexeco’s spa, at approximately 2:30 a.m. on October 15, 2019. Friedrichsen immediately alerted Flexeco’s employee, Neyra. Instead of dialing 911, the two carried Martin back to his room and left him alone, still unconscious; neither contacted emergency medical services nor took any other action at the time. Neyra returned to check on Martin almost an hour later at 3:20 a.m. and found him nonresponsive and blocking the entrance to his room. Neyra then called 911 and made a report to his supervisor. Paramedics arrived within 7 minutes and pronounced Martin dead. Paramedics estimate the time of death as 3:53 a.m.
Findings in the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Coroner website states that Martin O’Toole (57), was born on October 17, 1961, and deceased October 15, 2019. His cause of death is listed as methamphetamine intoxication, but the way in which he died has been ruled accidental.
Per numerous court filings related to this case, both parties are vigorously advocating for their respective positions.
Flexeco argues that Plaintiffs’ complaint is based on wrongful death and survival action damages, with negligence and negligent hiring, retention, supervision, and training as the underlying torts. Due to this, Plaintiffs must meet certain standards for pleading wrongful death and survival actions, as governed by statute. In order to plead a wrongful death or survivorship cause of action, Plaintiffs must assert that they are heirs of Decedent, able to bring forth such actions. Under CCP 377.60, this includes a surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, and issue of deceased children, generally. If there is no one in these categories, it then abides by the laws of intestate succession, first turning to the parents of the deceased.
A trial date of September 14, 2023, has been scheduled.
Martin was born in the Chicago metro area, he graduated from St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights, IL. He furthered his education with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Mary’s College in Minnesota and received his Juris Doctorate from Catholic University in Washington, DC. Marty’s excitement for political science brought him to Capitol Hill to work for Senator Tom Harkin. He later returned to the Chicago area, became a member of the Illinois Bar, and worked in the Appellate Court division of the Public Defender’s Office. A few years later, Marty realized his dream of entertainment and music law in Los Angeles. His 30-year law practice also included civil litigation, criminal defense, and appeal, as well as intellectual property-winning cases in Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Methamphetamine and fentanyl overdoses continue to be a significant and growing public health problem that impacts people across the socio-economic spectrum and across races and ethnicities in Los Angeles County and across the United States. The total number of people in LA County who died due to accidental drug overdose in 2021 was 2,741, and approximately 715 of these people were experiencing homelessness. Methamphetamine and/or fentanyl were involved in approximately half of the total accidental overdose cases in LA County and approximately 75% of accidental overdose cases were among people experiencing homelessness. Accidental overdose is a preventable cause of death, but such overdoses are disproportionately concentrated among the most vulnerable community members in LA County.
Methamphetamine is an addictive synthetic stimulant that can cause considerable health effects that can sometimes result in death. Methamphetamine can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally and is often used with other substances. According to the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015 and 2019. In 2020, more than 2.5 million people in the United States aged 12 years or older reported methamphetamine use in the past year.
Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that has been found in substances such as methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy, and other drugs. It is especially dangerous because people are often unaware that fentanyl is in the drugs they are using. The high potency of fentanyl (as high as 50 to 100 times the potency of morphine) greatly increases the risk of overdose. Fentanyl has quickly become the deadliest drug in the nation according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that two-thirds of the 107,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2021 were attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.