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

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

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The family of Kyle Plush and the City of Cincinnati have agreed to resolve the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family, City Manager Paula Boggs Muething said.

Muething says the settlement provides for a $6 million payment to the Plush family.

“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,” Meuthing said.

In addition, the city manager says the city has committed to additional efforts for continuous improvement of ECC operations.

The settlement specifies $250,000 for improvement of the 911 call center. The funds will be used to hire outside experts to review the city’s 911 operations.

Part of the $6 million will go to the Kyle Plush Answer the Call Foundation, which advocates for safer communities.

The lawsuit was never about the money, the Plush family said on Friday.

Jill Plush, Kyle’s mother, said it was always about making Cincinnati safer. She said the settlement does that.

“We decided to settle to get reform,” Jill said Friday.

“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,” Al Gerhardstein, attorney for the Plush family, said.

The lawsuit was filed by Kyle’s parents in 2019 against former City Manager Harry Black, 911 call takers, Amber Smith and Stepheanie Magee, and Cincinnati Police Officers, Edsel Osborn and Brian Brazile.

“Through settlement, each of the defendants in the case including our call takers and the police officers have been released from the lawsuit,” Emergency Communications Center Director Bill Vedra said in a statement to call center staff.

The lawsuit alleged the city and several employees were at fault in the April 2018 death of the 16-year-old Seven Hills School student.

[Lawsuit: 911 calls from teen who died in van mishandled]

An attorney for the Plush family has said officers thought the incident was a prank and did not treat it as a high-priority call.

City attorneys have argued the city and its employees were not acting recklessly.

Kyle died 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 twice to plead for help, providing his location and a description of the vehicle, according to the suit: “He screamed, pounded, begged for help. No one helped him.”

The teen’s body was not found for hours. His father finally located him in the van when he went looking for his son after he didn’t return home from school.

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

As for any kind of apology from the city, Gerhardstein said the Plush family never asked for one. Instead, they asked for action.

Kyle’s unfortunate death has led to some changes within the city.

[Memo: Cincinnati cops will be required to get out of cars, search by foot]

Cincinnati police are now required to get out of their cars and search by foot, among other changes, when they respond to 911 disconnect calls, 911 silent calls, and calls for unknown trouble.

Plush family, attorney react to $6M lawsuit settlement

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