Family Sues After Woman Dies in Gym Bathroom While Male Employee Refuses to Help
A 22-year-old Long Island woman, Emily Hamlin, died in the bathroom of Planet Fitness in February 2012. Now her family is suing gym owners and an employee who allegedly refused to enter the ladies’ bathroom after a customer told him that Hamlin collapsed.
“I heard [a] flush, then a thud,” said Stephanie Dick in a sworn affidavit, according to the New York Post. “I saw a woman’s arm drop to the floor, followed immediately by a loud snoring sound.”
Hamlin collapsed in the bathroom stall of the Bay Shore fitness club after an early morning workout.
Dick rushed to the front desk and asked gym employee Sean Higgins for help.
“He said he didn’t know what to do and that he wasn’t allowed to go into the ladies’ bathroom,” Dick said in the affidavit.
Dick claimed Higgins did nothing; he was reportedly “scared and confused and didn’t know what to do.”
“He said he was the only one working there and that a girl was expected to come in, but he didn’t know when she would be there.”
Dick dashed back to the bathroom and attempted to help Hamlin herself. She pounded on her locked bathroom stall.
A video obtained by the Hamlin’s attorney Scott Charnas shows Hamlin enter the locker room at 5:08 a.m. Nine minutes later, Dick can be seen at the front desk alerting Higgins to a medical emergency.
After Dick went back to the bathroom, another customer alerted employees to the emergency. She can be seen waving her arms in the video at 5:21 a.m.
“She was yelling at Sean to call 911,” Dick recalled.
The video reportedly shows Higgins looking idly at a computer.
It took four and half minutes after learning something was wrong for him to call 911. Hamlin was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m.
Hamlin’s family will file a wrongful death suit with the Suffolk County Supreme court this week.
“I want to know why no one helped her,” said Hamlin’s mother, Jeanine. “He could have simply called 911. It’s baffling to me.”
Eight minutes after the front desk was alerted, a female employee, Kristin Smith, appeared in the locker room. Smith checked Hamlin’s pulse and said it was “weak,” according to Charnas.
A letter from an attorney for Planet Fitness claims the gym is not liable in Hamlin’s death.
Charnas said the 24-hour gym is required by law to have an automated external defibrillator on hand and a person on staff who is certified to use it. He said the gym had neither.