Complaint details acts of negligence that led to Trey’s preventable death
BRANDON, Miss. –– Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump today announced he has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Phillip and Ashanta Laster, the parents of Trey Laster, a young man who died from heat exhaustion during high school football practice. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, names Rankin County School District, which oversees Brandon High School, as the sole defendant.
“No child should ever be in danger of losing their life in pursuit of a passion, especially under the supervision and instruction of adults who should know when to stop pushing these young athletes,” said Crump. “Trey’s tragic death could have been, and should have been, prevented by those in charge, and shows a troubling lack of adherence to guidelines surrounding heat exhaustion prevention.”
Trey’s preventable death occurred August 1, 2022, during the hottest part of the day with a heat index of 103 degrees.. According to the complaint, as soon as the 17-year-old arrived to participate in his first football practice of the season, his coaches immediately began making him do wind sprints.
While he was running, Trey began exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion that include stumbling and becoming dizzy and nauseous. Ultimately, as detailed in the complaint, Trey vomited and then passed out due to the extreme conditions and his coaches’ failure to properly adjust the training to the environment and his high risk factors. According to the complaint, because it was the first day of practice, the football players had not gone through a proper two-week acclimatization to the heat as required by school and athletic association guidelines. Trey, who stood 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighed 328 pounds, was at higher risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
When Trey passed out, the complaint says, the school did not have any exertional heat stroke (EHS) preventive measures on the field and did not begin implementing any common EHS prevention procedures. Instead, the complaint says, school district employees placed Trey in the back of a pickup truck, which only increased his body heat. According to the complaint, inadequate heat prevention and response led to Trey passing away shortly thereafter.
Just days before Trey’s death, the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) and the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), of which the Rankin County School District is a member, provided numerous warnings of EHS, identified the risks to lower the chances of EHS, and provided specific instructions on the type of EHS preventive measures that are best to be present at each practice and sporting event, according to the complaint.
For a copy of the complaint, visit: https://bencrump.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/ECF-1-Complaint.pdf
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Through his work, nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump has spearheaded a legal movement to better protect the rights of marginalized citizens. He has led landscape-changing civil rights cases and represented clients in a wide range of areas including civil rights, personal injury, labor and employment, class actions, and more. Ben Crump Law is dedicated to holding the powerful accountable. For more information, visit bencrump.com.