Brain-Damaged Soccer Player's Family Asks Fla. Court For Another Chance To Sue School

Oct 6, 2014

Lawyers for the Lee County School District say state law only requires a defibrillator be on school grounds, not that it's actually used.
Credit David Bruce via Flickr

The parents of a brain-damaged former Florida high-school soccer player may get to bring their negligence lawsuit before a jury, depending on how the state Supreme Court rules. The court is weighing whether to undo the suit’s dismissal by two lower courts.

In 2008, Lee County soccer player Abel Limones, Jr. became unconscious after collapsing during a game. Records show his coach called for an automated external defibrillator (AED), but no one used it as he lay waiting for an ambulance. Two lower courts dismissed his family’s suit against the school, partly because Florida law requires schools to have a defibrillator and train someone how to use it but stops short of requiring the device to be used in an emergency.

But during oral arguments Monday, several Supreme Court justices questioned the lower courts’ interpretation. Justice Fred Lewis said it makes no sense that lawmakers meant to require the resuscitator without expecting schools would use it.

"I mean, I’m sorry, I’m just missingthis is going right over my head as virtually nonsensical," he said. 

"That's like getting a fire extinguisher and not using it, " Chief Justice Jorge Larbarga added. 

And Justice James Perry said, "They're just basically trying to sell AEDs to the school. Just have them there and you're fine. OK, I got it." 

If the court sides with the Limones family, they would have the chance to try and convince a jury the school district was negligent.