Law Review: AEDs required in businesses?
Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) save lives and in my humble opinion should be available in all large business stores and in every major place of public assembly.
HEART ATTACK IN TARGET STORE
Mary Ann Verdugo had a heart attack and died in a Target store in Pico Rivera, California. Even though Target sold AEDs on its website, the store did not have one. Her family sued Target claiming it was required to have AEDs on site. The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of Target, concluding that no AED is required in California. While it may be good practice, AEDs are not required in private businesses.
HEALTH FACILITY FATALITY
Against the back drop of the 2014 Target case, in 2016 an individual was working out with a trainer at the Wild Card Boxing Club, basically a gym, in Los Angeles, when he suffered a fatal heart attack. The gym did not have an AED on the premises and the family sued.
The gym operator was liable because of Health and Safety Code section 104113 which requires health facilities and health studios and gyms to maintain AEDs on the premises.
In the gym case, the Court of Appeal determined that the landlord of the gym was not required to maintain an AED, only the gym operator was.
It is important to understand that owners who have AEDs are immune from liability if an AED is checked every 30 days and at least one employee is trained in its use. Voluntary users of AEDs trying to assist a person who has collapsed are immune from liability under California law.
While the percentage of sudden cardiac arrest victims who survive is low, when AEDs are used within three to five minutes of collapse the survival rate is as high as 50-70 percent.
The cost of an AED ranges from $1,200-$1,700, a seemingly small price for the potential life-saving benefit.
AEDs are designed to be user friendly with audio step-by-step instructions — nearly fool proof — even without training.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.portersimon.com.