OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- Relatives of a well-known Oceanside High School football coach and former San Diego Charger are suing 24 Hour Fitness, blaming its employees for his Pulu Poumele's death.
Pulu Poumele died on June 4 at an Oceanside 24 Hour Fitness after a basketball game with friends. Pulu went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the basketball court, according to a lawsuit.
Pulu's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging 24 Hour Fitness employees couldn't immediately locate the automatic external defibrillator. The suit goes on to say that after it was finally found one, it was not charged and did not work.
"Had [employees] been available to help him and use an AED right away, he would still be alive today," said attorney, Bibianne Fell, who is representing the Poumele family.
California law requires all health clubs have, maintain and train workers on AED's.
"Gyms need to do a better job at making sure employees are trained, that the equipment there is properly working," said Jessica Poumele, Pulu’s wife.
Jessica and Pulu have five children. Their oldest son graduated from high school just two days before Pulu's death.
Pulu played for the Arizona Wildcats in college. He then went on to play for several teams in the NFL, including the Chargers. Pulu was also a mentor to young athletes and served as coach for Oceanside-area schools.
"He really cared about people and people really appreciated that about him," Jessica said.
Pulu was cousins with late-Charger linebacker Junior Seau.
Jessica says her husband meant everything to her.
"People say with time it gets easier, but I'm not so sure," Jessica said.
When reached for comment, a 24 Hour Fitness spokeswoman stated in an e-mail that the company does not comment on pending litigation.