Kelly Simon v Terry Swift and Eastside High School
Jordan Simon was a 17-year old senior in high school who unexpectedly died of a heart attack. Jordan began running as a youngster, and had real promise. Jordan joined Eastside High School’s track team as a freshman, and quickly developed into a star sprinter. At the time of Jordan’s death, Jordan was competing for a track scholarship to a Division 1 university.
The autopsy revealed Jordan’s bloodstream contained the steroid Erythropoietin (pronounced, ah-rith-ro-poy-tin, and abbreviated, EPO). EPO is used medically to treat certain forms of anemia. Athletes use EPO to improve performance, because it increases the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. EPO also increases the blood viscosity, which can cause the blood to sludge and clog capillaries, resulting in a heart attack.
Kelly Simon, Jordan’s surviving parent, has filed a lawsuit against Eastside High School and Terry Swift, the track coach, claiming Eastside and Terry were negligent in causing Jordan’s death. Specifically, Kelly claims Terry and the school’s athletic department: (i) encouraged Jordan to use steroids; and (ii) should have known Jordan was using steroids and taken steps to stop Jordan’s steroid use.
Terry and Eastside deny Kelly’s claims, and contend: (i) Jordan assumed the risk of using steroids; and (ii) Kelly was comparatively negligent in not (a) discovering Jordan was using steroids, and (b) taking steps to stop Jordan’s steroid use.
This is a bifurcated trial on the issue of liability only; damages are not at issue.