Has anyone ever successfully sued a drug dealer for causing someone's death?

When someone keels over from correctly using a legal product that is harmful when used correctly, especially if the merchant has taken steps to cover up the precise nature of the product and its effects, the merchant is reasonably expected to pay out bigtime in the form of a civil suit.

Has anyone ever tried this against someone who sold illegal drugs? Has it ever been successful?

Apparently the state of Tennessee permits such actions. I do not know if a case has ever been brought forth.

I rather suspect that the actual seller of the drug would rarely have anything worth suing over.

Now if you could establish some link on up the chain of command, say to one of the Mexican drug cartel kingpins, you might have something.

Of course they’d probably have you killed long before it came to court.

Didn’t Carol O"Connor (TV’s Archie Bunker) try to sue the cocaine dealer who sold his son the drugs that the son used in the hours before killing himself?

I remember reading about it—The coke dealer and Carol’s son were childhood friends…

(I think it was a civil suit, as the cops and DA told O’Connor that there was no criminal charge that would stick)

Yes, and it was his actions which were ultimately responsible for creating California’s Drug Dealer Liability Act. O’Conner himself was unable to sue the individual (he had an Armenian name; I can’t remember what it was) who sold his son the drugs. The judge tossed it out because O’Connor had waited too long before filing suit.

It depends on how far you want to stretch the definition but the doctor that administered the drugs that resulted in Michael Jackson’s death is facing legal charges from it. Physicians serving as drug dealers through technically legal channels might count depending on how you define it and it isn’t that uncommon. They usually just lose their license but it can result in a charge like involuntary manslaughter.