Methamphetamine labs, which routinely involve the use of extremely toxic chemicals, are prevalent throughout the country, including states such as Wisconsin. A bust this week in Jacksonville showed the ongoing prevalence of the drug; authorities arrested more than 20 people in a regional methamphetamine production and distribution ring.
A meth lab discovery in a Florida hotel this week led to the building's condemnation. This premises liability situation led to potential property damage for the occupants, but the meth lab operation may have also jeopardized their health.
In this case, hotel occupants were forced to vacate the premises after the meth lab was discovered. They were unable to retrieve their belongings, some of which likely were damaged as a result of the meth lab operations.
Officials say the hotel will likely remain closed for at least a month for remediation. They are unsure about the long-term health effects that the occupants may have suffered, though authorities report that the lab was high-production, creating eight "pots" or large batches. The meth lab had been in operation for months, based on official estimates, and it might have been caught earlier had the hotel owners conducted more frequent room inspections.
The hotel owners will be held financially accountable for remediating the premises and guaranteeing the facility's safety using air quality checks. Local law experts say the owners are responsible for maintaining the ongoing safety of their guests, something they failed to do in this situation. Guests who inhaled the toxic fumes will likely have a good case against the facility operators, especially if they begin to experience health effects as a result. Employees may also attempt to recover damages under occupational health regulations.
Sources: FCN, "Meth Lab Hotel Condemned, Guests' Belongings Inside," Erin Hawley, March 14, 2012