A family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit over the race-related collapse of an attorney in California, reports Bakersfield Now.

Ben Greene, who was a father of nine children and married at the time of his death, was one of close to 200 participants in a 5K race at Hart Park last year, on a day with temperatures of 110 degrees. He collapsed during the event and later died at an area hospital. The claim has been brought by Greene’s family against the Bakersfield Track Club, who held the event.

According to the complaint from the family, the organizers of the race ignored the heat warnings for that day and did not have medical safety precautions in place for those taking part in the race.

The coroner’s report for Greene lists his death as accidental due to heart disease, with contributing factors of phentermine – a controlled substance used for weight loss – and methamphetamine intoxication. However, the legal representation for the family strongly denies that he was using any sort of illegal drugs, noting that legitimate medications can mirror methamphetamine in toxicology tests.

Dawn Ratliff, the division chief of the coroner’s office, was asked by local news outlets if there could be another reason for the appearance of methamphetamine in the late attorney’s system. She stood by the officer’s initial conclusion, saying that this was the cause of death and the findings of the toxicology tests.

According to the Track Club, Greene was receiving treatment within two minutes of his collapse at the race. A firefighter EMT who was off-duty and volunteering his time there began CPR on Greene and continued doing so until more help arrived. The fire department arrived at the scene in around eight minutes and an ambulance was there within 12 minutes, but both sets of responders had trouble locating the exact site of the emergency inside the large and sprawling park.

In the legal complaint filed by Greene’s family, they fault the club for not having medical transportation at the race site in the first place and for the lack of a portable defibrillator. Runners involved in this event did have to sign waivers prior to taking part, and these waivers free the club from liability except in the event of their gross negligence. Legal opinions from observers, which were obtained by local news agencies, say convincing a jury that gross negligence occurred may be a challenge because of the race’s history of being conducted in intense heat.

The family, which is being represented by a local law firm, is seeking compensation for medical expenses, loss of earnings, funeral and burial costs, and other damages.

The actions or negligence of another person or entity can result in the devastating loss of a loved one. If you have lost someone you cared about because of the actions or inaction of another person or entity, speak to an attorney, like a wrongful death lawyer Denver, CO relies on, about your case. Since wrongful death claims usually can only be brought forward within a set number of years of a person’s death, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice.



 Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard Banta, P.C. for their insight into wrongful death cases.