Lawsuit dismissed after settlement reached with family of Bakersfield attorney who died running 5K

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A lawsuit filed against Bakersfield Track Club after an attorney died while running a 5K in extreme heat has been dismissed after a settlement was reached.

The Superior Court website says the suit filed by the family of defense lawyer Benjamin Greene has been formally dismissed after a settlement was reached late last year. The terms have not been disclosed.

Neither Eric J. Dubin, attorney for Greene’s family, nor Darryl C. Hottinger, representing the track club, immediately responded to messages left by 17 News Thursday.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Greene’s widow, Michelle Greene, alleged the club “ignored deadly weather warnings” and “recklessly operated an outdoor 5K marathon in expected temperatures up to 115 degrees.”

The suit had sought punitive damages against the Bakersfield Track Club, as well as reimbursement for funeral expenses, loss of earnings, medical expenses, and legal fees. 

Benjamin Greene, 48, began experiencing medical complications while running in the 5K held by the club the evening of June 20, 2017. He went to a first aid station and was receiving treatment when he collapsed.

An off-duty firefighter performed CPR on him until an ambulance arrived. Greene was rushed to Kern Medical, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

An autopsy determined he died of cardiovascular disease with contributing factors of methamphetamine and phentermine intoxication. Coroner’s officials ruled his death an accident.

Greene spent five years in the county’s Public Defender’s office before opening his own practice in 1999, where he focused on family and criminal law. 

In addition to his wife, he left behind nine children.

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