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drugged drowned

drugged drownedA man under the influence of ayahuasca, a hallucinogen, drowned while at a “spiritual retreat,” according to recent reports. The retreat’s leader is now facing accusations of wrongful death and negligence.

Garth Dickson, 29, drowned in Shasta Lake at a White Flame Institute retreat led by defendant Bonnie Serratore. Dickson’s mother, Laura, claims that “Serratore negligently encouraged the use of ayahuasca, negligently supervised the retreatants during the meditations, and has neither the qualifications, the skill, nor experience that a person sponsoring these types of retreats should have. … Consequently, Bonnie Serratore’s negligence and lack of training, care, and experience caused the death of Garth Andrew Wallace Dickson.”


Serratore, according to the White Flame Institute, claims to be “a natural born intuitive specializing in healing core emotional wounding and subconscious belief systems, from this life and past.” She is the founder and director of the White Flame Institute in Las Vegas. She essentially claims to be a hypnotherapist, minister, and licensed spiritual coach.

Garth Dickson and at least five others paid for and attended Serratore’s retreat, which consisted of guided meditations and activities created and supervised by Bonnie Serratore. These activities included a healing regimen which involves provoking “painful, embarrassing and uncomfortable experiences and memories on the part of her clients to ‘clear’ them of obstacles and blocks that prevent them from living a ‘thriving and abundant life full of joy.” According to Laura Dickson, her son was participating in these meditations and activities while under the influence of ayahuasca, an extremely powerful hallucinogen of highly concentrated and long lasting dimethyltryptamine derivatives.

The high concentration of ayahuasca in Dickson’s blood confirms he was under its influence at the time of his death. Ayahuasca is also listed as a tool for accomplishing “healing” by Serratore and used at the retreats.

Laura Dickson seeks damages for the wrongful death of her son, as well as Serratore’s negligence and the pain and suffering her actions caused. According to Laura Dickson, “as the sponsor of the retreat and as a self-proclaimed shaman, Bonnie Serratore had a duty to be qualified and experienced in the safe and successful operation of the retreat… Serratore breached this duty by negligently supervising the retreatants, and by allowing the use of the hallucinogen … during the retreat.”

Few personal injury lawsuit consist of a plaintiff being totally without fault and a defendant being completely at fault for the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. Fortunately, personal injury laws account for these situations. If you or a loved one were injured due to the negligence of another, it is important to seek the legal advice of experienced Nevada personal injury attorneys like those at Sam Harding Law Firm.

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