Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rotolo v. San Jose Sports & Ent. (Cal. Ct. App. - May 24, 2007)

I agree with the majority opinion (written by Justice Bamattre-Manoukian) in this one. It's tragic that the 17-year old plaintiff went into cardiac arrest and died while playing ice hockey at Logitech Ice in San Jose. It is even more tragic, and sad, that there was at least one automatic external defibrillator (AED) on the wall near the penalty box, but that no one knew that the AED was there, and as a result, it wasn't used on the plaintiff. It might well have saved his life.

But there's an express California law that governs AEDs, and you can't (typically) be liable for having or not having an AED. And I agree with the majority that, yes, it would have been infinitely better for the facility to let participants know about the existence of the AED (e.g., post larger signs, give handouts, etc.) and to have a more concrete plan about what to do in the event they're needed. And maybe, even, that part of the AED law should be changed to require things like this. But I'm persuaded that that's not currently the law (statutory or common), and hence that summary judgment was properly granted to the defendant.

Justice McAdams writes a brief dissent, but I find the majority opinion more persuasive on this one. Even though reasonable minds could definitely disagree.