SUNO sued for allegedly failing to respond to deceased professor’s collapse in a timely manner

By Max Schramel | Mar 30, 2015

NEW ORLEANS – Southern University at New Orleans is being sued by the daughter of a professor who collapsed on campus and later died.

Schanette Hebert, individually and on behalf of her deceased mother, Dr. Guillarne Bazzle Leary filed suit against Southern University at New Orleans and New Orleans EMS in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Feb. 18.

The petitioner’s mother, Dr. Leary left the class she was teaching for an undisclosed reason in which she failed to return in a timely fashion. At this point, Dr. Leary’s students began searching for her in the hallway where they found her unresponsive.

A student then proceeded to pull a fire alarm, which purportedly was not functioning correctly. Subsequently, an ambulance was called, however, because the SUNO buildings were not “clearly marked,” emergency personnel allegedly failed to arrive for more than 45 minutes. Dr. Leary was then transported to Tulane Medical Center by New Orleans EMS and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Four days later, the plaintiff’s mother passed away.

The defendants are accused of failing to have functioning fire alarms, provide automated external defibrillators, maintain sufficient emergency personnel on campus, respond in a timely manner, correctly mark the SUNO buildings and properly establish training protocol to emergency personnel.

The plaintiff, Schanette Hebert, individually and on behalf of her deceased mother, Guillarne Bazzle Leary, is seeking an unspecified amount in damages for emotional turmoil, mental agony, pain and suffering, medical expenses, funeral expenses and decline in future income.

The petitioner is represented by James M. Williams of Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams LLP.

The case has been assigned to Div. L Chief Judge Kern A. Reese.

Case no. 2015-01482.

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