Attorneys for the family of Kyle Plush hope to convince a Hamilton County appeals court to let a lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati, police, dispatchers and a former city manager move forward. During a virtual court hearing Tuesday morning, Judge Pierre Bergeron called it a "very difficult and tragic case."
Cincinnati appealed after Hamilton County Judge Robert Ruehlman refused to dismiss the case. Ruehlman ruled January 22 saying, "...this court finds that there are a set of facts presented that may allow for relief for the plaintiff."
Plaintiff's attorney Al Gerhardstein holds Cincinnati, dispatchers Amber Smith and Stephanie Magee, police officers Edsel Osborn and Brian Brazile and former City Manager Harry Black responsible for their actions on April 10, 2018, the day Kyle Plush died in his minivan after calling 911 twice.
Gerhardstein calls the events "a huge combination of outrageous errors."
During the hearing, he asked the judges to affirm the trial court, denying a motion to dismiss the case. "So that there can be full discovery," he said. "We can learn every detail about what happened to their son and we can let a jury decide whether Kyle's cries for help were met with recklessness or wanton responses."
But attorney for the city Emily Woerner says, "This lawsuit is not the way to force the city to improve. We are continuing to improve and we will hear out every suggestion so that we can ensure this tragedy doesn't happen again."
Plush called 911 twice on April 10 seeking help. But a series of failures described by consultants as a "perfect storm" meant responding officers were never able to locate him. His father, Ron, found him about six hours after the first 911 call was made.
In one phone call, Kyle asks dispatchers to tell his mom he loves her if he dies.