The family of a high school football coach and former National Football League player who died in June at a 24 Hour Fitness is suing the company in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to a report.

Pulu Poumele, 44, died June 4 at a 24 Hour Fitness club in Oceanside, Calif., after a basketball game with friends, ABC 10 News in San Diego reported. Poumele went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the basketball court, according to a lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court.

Poumele’s family alleges in the lawsuit that after Poumele collapsed, 24 Hour Fitness employees could not immediately find an automatic external defibrillator (AED). When the AED was located, it was not charged and did not work, according to the report.

“Had [employees] been available to help him and use an AED right away, he would still be alive today,” attorney Bibianne Fell, who is representing the Poumele family, told ABC 10 News.

When asked for comment about the lawsuit, San Ramon, Calif.-based 24 Hour Fitness told iClubs: “As a matter of policy, 24 Hour Fitness does not comment on pending litigation.”

Poumele was the defensive coordinator for the football team at Oceanside High School — his alma mater — and worked as a special education teacher there, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. A star offensive lineman at the University of Arizona, Poumele went on to play in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers. He also spent time in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts. Poumele was a cousin of the late Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau.

Poumele left behind a wife, Jessica, and five children. Their oldest son played football at Oceanside High, where he graduated just two days before Poumele’s death.

Related: Heart Attack Victim’s Kids Sue Gym Over Lack of AED


Stuart Goldman is Editor of iClubs.