Planet Fitness Sued after Woman's Collapse and Death; Family Claims Staff Ignored Her


A family has sued Planet Fitness, Newington, NH, claiming a male staff member did not help their daughter after she collapsed in the women’s locker room and later died, according to several published reports.

Emily Hamlin, 22, died on Feb. 6, 2012. She had collapsed in a stall in the women's locker room at a Planet Fitness in Bay Shore, NY.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Suffolk County (NY) Supreme Court, was first reported Monday by the New York Post. On Tuesday, TV station WNBC in New York aired a security video from the Planet Fitness where the alleged incident occurred the morning of Hamlin's death. The video was obtained by Hamlin's father, WNBC reported.

Another female member who noticed Hamlin had collapsed approached the front desk, where a male staff member allegedly told her that it was against club policy for him to go into the women's locker room.

"He said he didn't know what to do and that he wasn't allowed to go into the ladies' bathroom," the Planet Fitness member, Stephanie Dick, said in her sworn affidavit, according to reports.

Hamlin had entered the women's locker room at 5:08 a.m., according to the Post's report. After noticing Hamlin on the floor of the bathroom stall, Dick went to the front desk at 5:16 a.m., WNBC reported. About five minutes later, the video shows a second female member gesturing to the staff member.

"He should have walked in there to do something. My biggest issue is, why didn't he call 911 right away?" Hamlin's mother, Jeanine Hamlin, told WNBC. "It's the simplest thing in the whole world to do. You're not going to get fired for saving somebody's life."

The Post reported that a second female Planet Fitness staff member arrived at the club minutes later and checked Hamlin's pulse, saying it was weak. Police arrived at 5:28 a.m., and Hamlin was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m., the Post reported.

Family attorney Scott Charnas said Planet Fitness did not have an automated external defibrillator (AED) or an employee certified to use an AED on site, a violation of state law.

"The club is open 24 hours, but they chose to staff it with only one person," Charnas told WNBC. "They had a rule that a person of the opposite sex could not go into the ladies room, but they didn't have someone who is female on staff."

The family told the TV station that Hamlin, a native of Central Islip, Long Island, NY, died of a heart attack and that she had an underlying heart condition that was never detected.

A Planet Fitness spokesperson said the company will not comment on pending litigation after issuing the following statement: "The safety of our members is Planet Fitness' number one priority. At this time we have not been served, and therefore are unable to comment further."

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