Woman sues after son dies in Tough Mudder event

By Annie Cosby | May 1, 2014

MOUNDSVILLE -- A Maryland woman is suing over claims her son was killed in a Tough Mudder event due to the negligence of organizers.

Mita Sengupta, as personal representative of the estate of Avishek Sengupta, filed a lawsuit April 18 in Marshall Circuit Court against Tough Mudder LLC, Airsquid Ventures Inc., doing business as Amphibious Medics, Travis Pittman, Peacemaker National Training Center LLC, General Mills Inc. and General Mills Sales Inc., citing wrongful death.

According to the complaint, 28-year-old Avishek Sengupta drowned April 20, 2013, while attempting to complete the Walk-the-Plank obstacle in the Tough Mudder Mid-Atlantic event in West Virginia.

The lawsuit states event organizers, after complaints from participants the Walk-the-Plank obstacle had too long a wait time, dropped certain safety measures that led to the death of Avishek Sengupta. These included lane dividers in the pool during the swim portion and volunteers timing and regulating the jumping of participants into the water for the safety of those already in the water.

Amphibious Medics is accused of failing to assign enough divers to help struggling swimmers at the obstacle, leaving only diver Pittman, whose credentials, according to the lawsuit, had expired on the day of the event. The claim states rescuers spent time trying to validate Avishek's teammates claims he was missing, wasting rescue time while he was drowning.

The lawsuit also states more than 20 rescues already had been carried out that day prior to Avishek's reaching the obstacle because of the cold temperature of the water and swimmers going into shock, but organizers failed to close the obstacle.

The defendants, all involved in the organization of the event, are accused of breaching their duties by allowing overcrowding and understaffing and permitting an unreasonably dangerous obstacle.

Sengupta's mother is seeking damages and costs in an amount to be determined by the court.

She is being represented in the case by attorneys Robert P. Fitzsimmons and Clayton J. Fitzsimmons of Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC in Wheeling and Robert J. Gilbert and Edward J. Denn of Gilbert & Renton LLC in Andover, Mass. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David W. Hummel.

Marshall Circuit Court Case No. 14-C-66H

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