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July 02, 2018

Press Release

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Jeffrey D. Murphy, PA and Robert Jones, Esq. File Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against South Carolina School District in Death of 14-Year Old River Bluff High School Football Player Lewis Simpkins

The parents of Lewis Simpkins, who was a 14-year old student athlete at River Bluff High School in South Carolina, filed a wrongful death lawsuit today against the South Carolina Board of Education, Lexington County School District, South Carolina High School, and Lexington County, arising from Simpkins’ untimely death at a pre-season football practice on August 10, 2016. The family is represented by Robert Jones, Esq. of Parham, Smith & Archenhold, LLC, (Greenville, South Carolina) and Jeffrey D. Murphy, Esq. (Tampa, Florida).

The Plaintiffs, Willie and Shonda Simpkins, allege their son died because of the negligent behavior of River Bluff football coaches and trainers who conducted the practice in extreme conditions where the heat index was 95 degrees and failed to have proper policies and procedures in place to protect student-athletes subjected to such an environment. The National Weather Service advises people to exercise “extreme caution” with prolonged exposure to heat index conditions above 90. The River Bluff team was subjected to a football practice exceeding 2 hours on the day Lewis died. Near the end of practice, Lewis and a number of other players were struggling to complete the drills, but they were encouraged by the coaches to finish. At one point, Lewis was no longer able to get up off the ground and was ultimately carried into the training room where he became unresponsive. The Autopsy Report found that heat and humidity likely contributed to his death.

Attorney Jeff Murphy stated that “this is a senseless tragedy.Our desire is to put an end to the unnecessary deaths of young student-athletes, which almost always seem to occur during pre-season conditioning drills and practices. We intend to do everything we can to effectuate changes to help prevent these types of deaths from happening again.”

Added attorney Robert Jones, “Lewis was an outstanding young man of Christian faith. He was well loved by his family, friends and teammates. We look forward to revealing the truth and circumstances surrounding his premature death. We are honored to represent the Simpkins family.”

In addition to his parents, Lewis was survived by four older brothers and a sister.

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