A mother is suing Peloton alleging one of the fitness company’s exercise bikes fell on her son and sliced open his neck, killing him instantly.
Seven months later, he was found dead at his Downtown Brooklyn apartment by the New York City police. The bike was still resting on his neck and face.
According to the lawsuit filed earlier this year by his mother Johanna Furtado, her son was using the Peloton bike to do a “Core” workout on 13 January 2022 when the tragic incident happened.
“The workout requires riders to disembark the bike to conduct exercises on the floor,” according to the suit.
After finishing the floor routine, Furtado attempted to pull himself up using the equipment for leverage when the bike “spun around and impacted him on his neck and face severing in his carotid artery in his neck killing him instantly.”
The lawsuit says Peloton should have predicted and warned against “the foreseeable misuse that people would also use the Subject Bike to pull themselves up from the floor during a workout increasing an unknown risk of injury to the user, such as the case with Ryan.”
It notes that the company instructs riders to “use the Bike for stretching,” but that “applying pressure on the Bike in a pulling and pushing fashion, caus[es] the Bike to destabilize and fall.”
A warning label is located on the front right leg of the bike, but the lawsuit calls it “inadequate,” and should instead have “multiple labels to the bike’s stem and base “to adequately warn the user of injury that could occur if the Subject Bike is used to pull oneself up from the floor during a workout.”
Ms Furtado says the Peloton bikes are “defective and/or unreasonably dangerous,” and that the company “failed to warn” that its bikes could tip over “when used as a brace to rise or go down.”
“As a direct and proximate result of the foregoing conduct of Peloton, Ryan was killed,” the suit states.
Peloton filed a response to the lawsuit that put the blame on Furtado, stating that he died due to his own negligence, and that the company is not legally responsible.
Peloton users are “obligated to defend, indemnify and hold Peloton harmless based upon the provisions set forth” it further stated.
Furtado’s death is not the first one connected to the Peloton brand, but may be the first known death connected to the bike. The lawsuit also details an incident where a six-year-old child died after getting pulled into a Peloton treadmill. The company described it as a “tragic accident.”
In another incident, a three-year-old was left with “significant brain injury” after being found on a now-discontinued Peloton Tread Plus with “tread marks on his back matching the slats of the treadmill,” according to the suit.
In that case, Peloton was ordered to pay a $19m fine earlier this year over the treadmill issue, The Daily Beast reported.
In the most recent lawsuit against Peloton that was filed quietly in March, Ms Furtado asked the company to pay for her son’s final healthcare expenses, funeral and burial costs, any financial support he would have contributed to the family, and damages for the “conscious pain and suffering.”
She also asked for compensatory damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and “the cost of all past and future medical and psychiatric care.”
The lawsuit comes after the company saw massive success when many people were forced to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that success began to fade when stay-at-home restrictions loosened.
The company’s stock even took a hit last year when one of the main characters in the Sex and the City reboot died of a heart attack after a Peloton ride. Just weeks later, a character on the Showtime drama Billions also suffered a heart attack following a ride.
In May of this year, two million of its bikes were recalled after complaints of the seat post “breaking and detaching from the bike during use,” according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC). Several minor injuries were reported from the defect.
An obituary published in Maui Now described Furtado, who was a native of Hawaii, as “the best everything, son, grandson, brother, uncle and friend” whose “life was flourishing,” and that his “kind heart, witty humor, and overall zest for life will be forever cherished and missed.”
Furtado was a graduate of the University of Redlands and “loved family, friends, traveling, music, baking, games and all things Star Wars,” the obit read. “He loved the ocean and land alike and found adventures where he could,” it continued. “He left us far too soon and will be loved forever…….”
Furtado was employed at the B2B software firm Demandbase. One of his colleague’s created a GoFundMe page following his death. It raised nearly $17,000 for his family.
“Beloved colleague, dear friend, shining star—that’s how we remember Ryan,” the campaign read. “He was someone who made everyone feel welcome and special. Ryan was great at his job, and excelled at friendship—always there for his people, of whom there are many. We are grieving the loss of Ryan, and all of us want to find ways to help. The funds raised by this campaign will be sent to his family to help with the many unexpected costs they are now dealing with as they navigate this very difficult time.”