Nevada Firefighter and Colleagues Among Those Sued For Spouse’s Overdose Death

The family of a woman who died of a drug overdose following a party attended by several members of the North Las Vegas Fire Department has filed suit against the city, the woman’s firefighter-husband, four other firefighters, and the hotel-casino where the party was held. Tiffany Slatsky died on February 23, 2020 following unsuccessful efforts by her firefighter-husband, Christopher Candito, to administer narcan to her. He obtained from the fire department. Slatsky, 25, reportedly overdosed on a combination of cocaine, ecstasy and morphine.

Candito was initially charged with second degree murder for his wife’s death. In December, 2021, he pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and is currently serving 16 to 40 months in state prison. Here is earlier coverage of Candito’s criminal charges.

Statsky’s estate, along with her minor son and his guardian, filed suit in Clark County Circuit Court alleging civil right violations under 42 USC § 1983, negligence, battery, and false imprisonment. The facts are complicated and are quoted here at length from the complaint:

  • Upon information and belief, Defendants CHRISTOPHER CANDITO, ANDREW CLAPPER, NICHOLAS ROBISON, STEVEN HONSOWETZ, and ANDREW STOCKER, and DOE DEFENDANTS engaged in the purchase, trade, and sale of the illicit drugs that were to be used and distributed at the February 21, 2020 party.
  • That on or about February 21, 2020, Decedent, Tiffany Slatsky, attended the party at GOLDEN NUGGET HOTEL & CASINO, with her husband, Defendant CHRISTOPHER CANDITO, who was employed as a North Las Vegas firefighter at the time.
  • Also in attendance were a number of North Las Vegas firefighters, including, but not limited to, Defendants ANDREW CLAPPER, NICHOLAS ROBISON, STEVEN HONSOWETZ and ANDREW STOCKER.
  • At the time of the party, Defendant NICOLAS ROBISON was a North Las Vegas Fire Captain.
  • Upon information and belief, attendees at that party, including Decedent, were engaging in the use of illicit drugs including, but not limited to, morphine, cocaine, and ecstasy.
  • Upon information and belief, CNLV superior officers and/or employees within the North Las Vegas Fire Department had knowledge of illicit drug dealings among the department employees, and either participated in, condoned, or otherwise failed to respond to such activities.
  • Upon information and belief, Defendants CHRISTOPHER CANDITO, ANDREW CLAPPER, NICHOLAS ROBISON, STEVEN HONSOWETZ, and ANDREW STOCKER, and DOE DEFENDANTS were stationed at North Las Vegas Fire Station 51, which had a reputation of being a “party station” with numerous employees engaged in the purchase, sale, trade, and/or use of steroids and illicit drugs.
  • At all relevant times, Defendants CANDITO, CLAPPER, ROBISON, HONSOWETZ, STOCKER and DOE DEFENDANTS were duly appointed employees or agents of CNLV and/or NLVFD, subject to oversight and supervision by CNLV and/or NLVFD elected and non-elected officials.
  • Upon information and belief, the February 21, 2020 hotel party lasted through the night and Decedent and Defendant CANDITO did not leave said party until sometime between 5:00 and 7:00am on February 22, 2020.
  • After leaving the February 21, 2020 party, Decedent and Defendant CANDITO returned to their residence … [in] Henderson.
  • Upon information and belief, on February 22, 2020, after returning home from the party, Defendant CANDITO provided Decedent with morphine pills that had been obtained through dealings with Defendants CLAPPER, ROBISON, HONSOWETZ, STOCKER and DOE DEFENDANTS.
  • Shortly after decedent had ingested the subject morphine pills, she began slurring her words and acting irregularly.
  • Defendant CANDITO, based on his training in emergency medical care as a North Las Vegas firefighter, believed that decedent was experiencing overdose symptoms from the subject morphine pills.
  • On or about February 22, 2020, Defendant CANDITO took decedent from their residence in Henderson to North Las Vegas Fire Station 51, upon recognizing the overdose symptoms she was exhibiting.
  • Rather than taking decedent to the nearest hospital, which was only minutes away, Defendant CANDITO took decedent to his fire station, located approximately 23 miles away, to administer his own medical care.
  • Defendant CANDITO used his employee key card to enter North Las Vegas Fire Station 51, and retrieve Narcan, Zofran, and IV equipment from the station’s medical supplies, so that he could administer those medications to Decedent.
  • If Defendant CANDITO was not a CNLV employee and North Las Vegas firefighter at Station 51, he would not have been able to enter the building and access those medical supplies.
  • Upon information and belief, the CNLV and NLVFD’s regulation and oversight of its employees and medical supply stock were so woefully inadequate that Defendant CANDITO was permitted to enter Station 51 and have unfettered access to dangerous medications and other medical supplies without question or repercussion.
  • After retrieving those medications and medical supplies, Defendant CANDITO went back to his vehicle where he had left Decedent, started an IV in Decedent’s right arm, and administered approximately two milligrams of Narcan.
  • In doing so, Defendant CANDITO acted under color of law as a CNLV employee and North Law Vegas firefighter/EMT.
  • The ordinary private citizen would not have the requisite knowledge, training, and experience to administer an IV of Narcan, nor would an ordinary citizen have had access to the medical supplies, which Defendant CANDITO obtained at Station 51 and by virtue of his position as a CNLV employee and North Las Vegas firefighter/EMT.
  • Defendant CANDITO had been trained on details related to the use, administration, and other specifics related to Narcan as part of his training for the North Las Vegas Fire Department.
  • After administering Narcan in his vehicle, Defendant CANDITO drove decedent back to their residence and Decedent and Defendant CANDITO fell asleep at approximately 2:00am on February 23, 2020.
  • Upon information and belief, firefighters and medics are trained that Narcan is only a “temporary blocker” and it is still necessary to transport an individual suspected to be overdosing to a hospital for further evaluation and monitoring.
  • Accordingly, Defendant CANDITO either was not properly trained with regards to Narcan administration or he violated his training with regards to administering Narcan and then returning home, rather than to a hospital.
  • At approximately 8:30am on February 23, 2020, Defendant CANDTIO awoke and found Decedent unresponsive.
  • At that time, Defendant CANDITO had 911 contacted and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to the subject residence.
  • Prior to paramedics arriving, Defendant CANDITO carried Decedent out to a nearby curb, and awaited the arrival of medical personnel.
  • When paramedics arrived, they initially took Decedent back into the residence before then transporting her to the hospital where she was ultimately pronounced dead on February 23, 2020.
  • Upon information and belief, Decedent died as a result of multiple drug intoxication, including morphine.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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