Jermaine Cullum

Riverside-Brookfield High School has been sued by the mother of a high school basketball player who died last year after collapsing while playing in an AAU tournament, called the Team Rose Classic, which was held at the school.

Jermaine Cullum was 16 years old when he collapsed after making a layup in a game at RBHS on May 3, 2104. He died three days later of cardiac arrest while at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. Cullum had been a student at Christ the King College Prep High School in Chicago.

The suit claims that after Cullum collapsed first responders, a nurse and an emergency room doctor who were at the tournament as spectators, asked for a defibrillator but none could be found.

The Landmark previously reported that Riverside paramedics responded quickly to the school when called and used a defibrillator to revive Cullum.

Cullum’s mother, Tarcia Patton, claims that RBHS was negligent in failing to provide an operable automated external defibrillator during the tournament.

The suit, which was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by attorney William Gibbs of the well-known Chicago personal injury law firm of Corboy & Demetrio on April 29, also claims that RBHS failed to ensure that a trained defibrillator user was available during the tournament, that the school failed to adopt or implement a plan to respond to medical emergencies during the tournament, failed to provide training in the use of a defibrillator to its staff, failed to inform the organizers of the tournament of the location of the defibrillator and/or emergency plan and failed to comply with the requirements of the Fitness Facility Emergency Act.

The suit seeks monetary damages in excess of $50,000.

Named as defendants in suit are Riverside-Brookfield High School, Riverside Brookfield High School District 208 and the District 208 Board of Education.

District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said on Friday that he had not yet seen the lawsuit.

“At this point, the district has not received any formal documents or communication of a lawsuit,” Skinkis said. “Therefore, I cannot comment.”

Skinkis said that currently there are six or seven defibrillators at the school and their locations are noted on the school’s website.

Gibbs also declined to comment on the lawsuit.