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Court of Appeal Holds YMCA Owed No Duty To Use AED During Soccer Player's Cardiac Arrest

October 4, 2018

Jabo v. YMCA of San Diego County
(September 28, 2018, D072613) __ Cal.App.5th __ [2018 WL 4659507]

The family of a man who died of sudden cardiac arrest while playing soccer on defendant’s premises filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that defendant had a duty to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) on decedent. The trial court granted summary judgment for defendant, ruling that defendant owed no common law or statutory duty to the decedent to use an AED.

The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that defendant owed no common law or statutory duty to use an AED on an adult who was a permissive user of defendant’s premises under a rental agreement with a private soccer league. The court held that although defendant owes a statutory duty to its members to acquire and maintain AEDs and train its staff on proper AED use, it did not owe this same duty to a non-member participating in a private soccer league. After analyzing the Rowland factors for determining whether a common law duty exists, the court concluded that athletes assume the risk of cardiac arrest during strenuous activities, and businesses that voluntarily acquire and maintain AEDs “should not be penalized” by imposing a common law duty in addition to any statutory duty.

Horvitz & Levy was appellate counsel for the defendant.

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