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Woman Sues Portland Gym after Husband Dies on Treadmill

running on treadmill

Stacy Rutledge is suing 24 Hour Fitness in Portland, Oregon after her husband collapsed and died while using a treadmill on December 21, 2017. The lawsuit claims that 24 Hours Fitness did not properly train its employees to respond to emergency scenarios, and therefore, is ultimately responsible for her husband’s death.

David Rutledge, a 62-year-old engineer, collapsed during his routine workout at the Pearl District 24 Hour Fitness. Only one employee, Corey Lay, was on duty at the time Rutledge collapsed. Lay was allegedly slow to call 911 and did not know where the center’s automated external defibrillator (AED) was located. By the time medics arrived, Rutledge was not able to be revived. The lawsuit claims that Lay was a new employee for the fitness center and was not properly trained on how to deal with member-related emergencies.

The complaint gives a detailed timeline of the incident. As was his normal schedule, Rutledge arrived at the 24 Hour Fitness around 5:00 am and began his workout on the treadmill around 5:10 am. Less than 20 minutes later, Rutledge collapsed while running. Another member who was working out behind Rutledge witnessed the collapse and went to Rutledge’s aid. This member immediately recognized that this was a serious emergency and ran downstairs to find an employee. There was no employee stationed at the front desk, and after a quick search, the member finally found Lay, the only employee on duty, in the restroom. The member then returned to Rutledge and began performing CPR. Allegedly, Lay did not call 911 immediately and he did not know where the AED was located. Paramedics noted that it was unusual, as resuscitation of similar victims can normally be achieved. The lawsuit stated “[e]very minute of delay caused Mr. Rutledge a further loss of chance of survival.”

The lawsuit was filed in the Multnomah County Circuit Court on January 23, 2019. It is requesting a jury trial and is seeking damages of $13,000,000. Further, the lawsuit not only names 24 Hour Fitness as a defendant, but also names Lay as an individual. Separating the named defendants, the lawsuit states that Lay was negligent for the following, non-exclusive list: failure to call 911 in a timely manner; failure to give the 911 operator accurate information; failure to locate and use the AED. The lawsuit then goes on to state that 24 Hour Fitness was negligent in failing to properly train Lay.

After news of the lawsuit broke, 24 Hour Fitness posted the following statement: “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.”

According to his obituary, Rutledge was planning to retire the day after his death. He had worked as an electrical engineer for 34 years. He is survived by his wife, Stacy, and his step-daughters.

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