On Halloween night 2010
, Jason Starn had just returned home from a local head shop in Modesto after buying more nitrous oxide "laughing gas" canisters when "my brain kind of froze."
Starn later told his lawyer he had lost all feeling from the rib cage down. His wife took him to a hospital, where doctors kept him two weeks and determined he had suffered a degeneration of his spinal cord related to his abuse of nitrous oxide, his lawyer said. The numbness lasted months, according to the lawyer, and Starn still needs a walker to get around.
In an unusual lawsuit on file in Sacramento Superior Court, Starn is going after the three stores where he bought the drug, in the form of little gas chargers that go by the trade name Whip-It.