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Chicago Team Secures Significant Summary Judgment Win on Behalf of Amazon in Wrongful Death Matter

Chicago, Ill. (April 11, 2022) - Chicago Partners Charles Cole and Margaret "Maggie" Fitzsimmons recently secured a significant victory when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a wrongful death suit against Lewis Brisbois' client, Amazon.com Services, Inc., after determining that the company was not responsible for the death of the plaintiff's late husband.

As described in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article, "Federal judge dismisses wrongful death case against Amazon," the plaintiff's husband suffered a heart attack while working for a contractor at an Amazon warehouse. When a medical specialist from Amazon's onsite medical facility arrived at the scene, he performed CPR. The medical specialist had not brought an AED with him, and when he connected an AED that an employee had retrieved, the device instructed him not to apply a shock because it detected an absence of cardiac activity. As such, the specialist continued performing CPR until the paramedics arrived. After being transported to the nearest hospital, the plaintiff's husband was pronounced dead due to acute myocardial infarction resulting from high cholesterol.

The plaintiff subsequently sued Amazon, claiming that the company had a duty to perform CPR, utilize an AED, and call paramedics. The Lewis Brisbois team argued that Amazon had no such duty to utilize an AED, with which the court agreed. The court found that the plaintiff failed to establish negligence because the claims did not “prove the existence of a duty owed by the defendant, a breach of that duty, and injury proximately resulting from that breach.” It reasoned, “A common understanding of ‘first aid’ does not encompass the use of an oxygen tank or AED any more than it encompasses an intubation kit. Rather, ‘first aid,’ involves simple procedures that can be performed with minimal equipment and training, such as bandaging and repositioning." Accordingly, the court granted summary judgment in Amazon's favor. At one point during the suit, the plaintiff had made a seven-figure settlement demand.

Mr. Cole is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Medical Malpractice Practice. He focuses his practice on defending physicians and other healthcare providers. Mr. Cole regularly tries complex and high exposure matters to verdict in state and federal courts.

Ms. Fitzsimmons is also a member of Lewis Brisbois' Medical Malpractice Practice. In addition to representing healthcare providers and organizations, she also represents other professionals, including architects, engineers, and attorneys. Ms. Fitzsimmons regularly tries significant matters in state and federal courts.

You may read the full Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article here (subscription may be required).


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