| SACRAMENTO, June 23
SACRAMENTO, June 23 California's top court on
Monday unanimously ruled that large retailers are not required
to provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) inside their
stores, deciding in favor of Target Corp in a wrongful
death lawsuit brought after a shopper's sudden death.
The Supreme Court in California dismissed the argument that
the U.S. retailer fell under a state health code statute that
requires gyms and other "health studios" to make available the
"We conclude that, under California law, Target's common law
duty of care to its customers does not include a duty to acquire
and make available an AED for use in a medical emergency," the
six-judge panel wrote in an opinion on Monday.
The court's decision was a defeat for the mother and brother
of 49-year-old Mary Ann Verdugo, who died of a sudden heart
attack while shopping with her at a Target store in 2008 Pico
Rivera, California, a city near Los Angeles.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleged the company violated a
common law duty to provide first aid to the large volume of
customers that frequent its California stores daily, noting that
AEDs retail on its website for $1,200.
"The inexpensive availability of AEDs and their ease of use
with even minimal or no advance training have led to on-site CPR
(cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED assistance to now be an
expected part of first aid response," the Verdugo's complaint
The California Supreme Court upheld decisions by a U.S
appeals court and lower courts that all ruled against the
"The safety and security of our guests and team members is
our top priority and we are pleased with the California Supreme
Court decision," Target said in a statement.
(Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Matt Driskill)