Family of woman who died after taking Ecstasy sues hotel nightclub

LAS VEGAS - The family of a 21-year-old woman who died after taking Ecstasy while partying at a Las Vegas Strip nightclub is suing The Venetian, the club and the individuals they believe sold her the illegal drug.

Danielle Heird's death in July was a result of an overdose from the party drug that's becoming increasingly popular among young adults, a coroner's report confirmed.

In the wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday in Clark County District Court, Heird's family claims that Club C2K and the hotel failed to provide a safe environment for patrons of the club.

''What we want to do is send a message,'' said Elsa Heird, the woman's mother. ''We demand that any organization that profits from our children's weaknesses be held accountable.''

Heird's father, James, said they believe C2K knew about illegal drug use in the club.

''We know Venetian had meetings with C2K about drugs in the club,'' he said. ''We also know that none of the corporations did anything until our daughter's death.''

The lawsuit states The Venetian and the owners of Club C2K created a drug-friendly environment for patrons.

Las Vegas attorney E. Brent Bryson, who represents the Heird family, described Club C2K, which opened in October 1999, as a ''haven for Ecstasy users'' by both patrons and employees.

The Venetian shut down the C2K club after complaints involving safety and security issues. It has since reopened under different ownership.

The family is seeking unspecified damages of more than $10,000 in the negligence lawsuit.

Las Vegas police homicide Lt. Wayne Petersen said Heird's death was ruled an accidental drug overdose. Police determined Heird had taken the drug before she went into the club and voluntarily took the drug again once inside

''We've completed our investigation,'' he said. ''At this point, we don't have any criminal charges.''

Where Heird obtained the illegal drug is unknown, Petersen said.

A spokesman for The Venetian said he could not comment on litigation. There was no answer at Silver Hammer of Nevada, LLC, the former operator of Club C2k. None of the individuals named in the lawsuit could be reached for comment.

The Henderson, Nev., woman is the first known fatality in Clark County from the hallucinogen Ecstasy.

The amount of Ecstasy in Heird's system was equivalent to from one to 1 pills. There were no other controlled substances or alcohol found in her body, Las Vegas police said.

Ecstasy, also called methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, is a synthetic, mind-altering drug often used by all-night partygoers. Side effects can include increases in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, as well as death.

Heird's father said his daughter died sometime from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. on July 20 after celebrating a friend's birthday at C2K. While at C2K, the young woman felt ill, and her friends took her to lie down at one of their homes, where she later died.

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