An Oregon woman is suing 24 Hour Fitness for $13 million after her husband collapsed and died while using a treadmill at a health club in Portland's Pearl District.
David L. Rutledge, 62, collapsed the morning of Dec. 21, 2017, during his routine workout at the Pearl District 24 Hour Fitness. His wife, Stacy, claims 24 Hour Fitness did not properly train its employees to respond to emergency scenarios and is ultimately responsible for her husband's death, according to her lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Only one employee, Corey Lay, was on duty the morning of Rutledge's death, according to the lawsuit. Lay was allegedly slow to call 911 and did not know where the club's automated external defibrillator (AED) was located. Rutledge was not able to be saved by the time paramedics arrived at the club.
The lawsuit claims Lay was new to his job and was never properly trained in how to respond to member-related emergencies.
24 Hour Fitness provided the following statement to Club Industry on Jan. 31: “We were saddened by the passing of our club member and our thoughts are with the member’s family. As a matter of policy, 24 Hour Fitness does not comment on pending litigation.”
Oregon state law requires that health clubs with 50 or more daily members and guests must be equipped with working AEDs.
The lawsuit states: "Defendants' negligence was a substantial cause of Mr. Rutledge's death and other damages alleged here. Additionally, every minute of delay caused Mr. Rutledge a further loss of chance of survival."
Rutledge's obituary said Rutledge was planning to retire from his longtime job as an electrical engineer the day after his unexpected death.
More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals each year, and 90 percent of Americans who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die. However, the American Heart Association estimates that properly administered CPR can triple a person's odds of survival. For more on AEDs in health clubs, click here.