Plush Family, Cincinnati Reach Settlement In Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Cincinnati and the family of Kyle Plush have reached an agreement, ending a wrongful death lawsuit in the death of the 16-year-old Seven Hills student.
Under the agreement, Cincinnati will pay the Plush family $6 million. It also includes a five-year reform plan.
The plan will have Cincinnati bringing in three 911 experts to work with the emergency communications center. The city will allocate up to $250,000 initially for that work.
"The city has agreed to the work of three experts - all 911 professionals - who will come to Cincinnati and consult in a way that will help the (911 call center) improve," says attorney Al Gerhardstein. "The scope of the agreement includes a thorough examination of all the actions that led to the failure to find and rescue Kyle - identification of the systemic issues, the training, the quality assurance, the protocol issues - and makes sure that those all get fixed."
Gerhardstein says some of that includes getting national certifications and creating a culture that is conducive to retaining staff at the Cincinnati Emergency Communications Center (ECC). The city is agreeing to allocate an initial $250,000 to fund the reform agreement and team of experts. Gerhardstein says more money could be negotiated for those efforts in the future.
"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," writes Cincinnati City Manager Paula Boggs Muething in a statement. "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."
"Nobody really wants to be here," Gerhardstein adds. "This is a terrible case. We wish Kyle had been saved, had been found, but this is an important way that the Plush family is honoring their son."
Parents Ron and Jill Plush echoed that sentiment.
"The last three years I think everybody knows has been very challenging for our family and it's been a long journey," Ron Plush said. "But if we go back in time to April and May of 2018 we stated very clearly that what we wanted to happen is to have change made so this doesn't happen to another family."
Jill Plush added that her son was a very positive person and would have been pleased with the outcome. "We're going in the right direction," she said.
Plush called 911 twice on April 10, 2018, seeking help after becoming trapped in his vehicle. A series of failures described by consultants as a "perfect storm" meant responding officers did not locate him. His father, Ron, found him suffocated about six hours after the first 911 call was made.