LAS VEGAS (CN) – A doctor died after a Nevada Highway Patrolman shot him with a Taser, and the family demands punitive damages from Taser International, claiming it fraudulently misrepresents its weapon as nonlethal. Dr. Ryan Rich, 33, died after suffering a seizure disorder while driving, which led a state trooper to shoot him five times with a Taser, according to the federal complaint.
Rich suffered a seizure while driving to work in January 2008, leaving him “dazed, confused and disoriented.” Rich was involved in several minor crashes after the seizure, the lawsuit states.
When he finally stopped, Rich was approached by Trooper Loren Lazoff, who found Rich unresponsive.
The officer shattered the passenger-side front window of Rich’s truck, grabbed Rich’s keys from the ignition and turned the truck off. He then ordered Rich out of the truck, the lawsuit states.
Lazoff tried to handcuff Rich, but he resisted, pulled away, got to his feet and “began to run in the direction of the traffic lanes,” according to the complaint.
Lazoff shot him five times with a Taser – three times at 50,000 volts for 5 seconds, and twice while the weapon was in “stun mode,” the complaint states.
Rich was pronounced dead at Spring Valley Hospital, where he worked.
The family says Taser failed to disclose the risks of heart attack when the 26-watt Tasers are used on the chest near the heart. They say Taser fraudulently misrepresents its weapon as nonlethal. They seek punitive damages for negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment and deceit, intentional misrepresentation, strict liability and negligence.
Their lead counsel is John Snow with Vancott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy.