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City of Cincinnati, Plush Family Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $6M

The family of Kyle Plush recently agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit with the city of Cincinnati for $6 million.

The family of Kyle Plush recently agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit it filed against the City of Cincinnati. According to City Manager Paula Boggs Muething, the Plush family will receive a $6 million payment from the city. She added:

“The employees of the Emergency Communications Center and Police Department are dedicated public servants who are committed to helping when people need them the most. We will work every day to ensure that our City never again experiences a tragedy like the one suffered by the Plush family. The City is dedicated to providing the most professional emergency response to all Cincinnatians.” 

Brown wooden gavel; image by Rawpixel, via Unsplash.com.

In addition to the payment, the city will also direct additional efforts for the continuous improvement of ECC operations. For example, the city will spend $250,000 on improvements to the 911 call center. A chunk of those funds will go towards hiring outside experts who will “review the city’s 911 operations.”

Another $6 million will go toward the Kyle Plush Answer the Call Foundation, an organization that advocates for safer communities. 

When commenting on the settlement, the Plush family said it was never about money. Jill Plush, Kyle’s mother, said it has always been about making Cincinnati safer, something she said the settlement accomplishes. She added, “We decided to settle to get reform.”

Al Gerhardstein, an attorney for the Plush family, said:

“The family enters this agreement in honor of their son Kyle. To honor his memory, it was important that we secure a civic commitment to continuous improvement. With this agreement, the City Manager commits to continue reforms in an enforceable, transparent way that will make the City safer for everyone. The family sees improvement under the current leadership and this court-supervised agreement will build on that.”

The suit itself was filed back in 2019 and named former City Manager Harry Black, 911 call takers, Amber Smith and Stepheanie Magee, and Cincinnati Police Officers, Edsel Osborn and Brian Brazile as defendants. When commenting on the settlement, Emergency Communications Center Director Bill Vedra said, “Through settlement, each of the defendants in the case including our call takers and the police officers have been released from the lawsuit.”

At the time the suit was filed, the Plush family claimed the city and several employees were at fault in the April 2018 death of their 16-year-old son. Kyle was a student at Seven Hills School. The family’s attorney said, “officers thought the incident was a prank and did not treat it as a high-priority call.”

Kyle ended up passing away after he “became pinned by a folding bench seat in the back of his family’s 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan parked at Seven Hills School in Madisonville.” He called 911 two times, pleading for help. He gave his location details and a description of his vehicle. According to the suit, “He screamed, pounded, begged for help. No one helped him.” Hours later, Kyle’s body was found by his father when he went looking for him. 

According to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office, Kyle died due to “asphyxiation due to chest compression after becoming pinned by a folding seat in the vehicle.” 

Sources:

Plush family, city reach $6M settlement in wrongful death lawsuit

Plush family reaches $6M settlement with Cincinnati over teen’s wrongful death

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