SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - The family of a California woman who died after participating in a radio station's water-drinking contest will sue the station, their lawyer said on Thursday.
Jennifer Strange, 28, a mother of three, died from suspected water intoxication after taking part in Friday's competition, "Hold your wee for a Wii." About 20 people tried to out-drink each other without going to the toilet to win a Nintendo Wii game console.
Sacramento station KDND-FM responded by firing 10 staffers, including several DJs. The DJs had joked about people dying from water intoxication and teasing Strange about her enlarged stomach.
"The station knew this was a dangerous and potentially deadly stunt, but flippantly dismissed the dangers," lawyer Roger Dreyer said in a statement. "Hearing the tape, it's very clear they knew of the dangers and could foresee that this could lead to Jennifer's death."
Los Angeles Times
Strange — one of 20 contestants — initially joked lightheartedly with the show hosts as she and the others chugged bottled water. But as the hours wore on, it came down to Strange and one other woman contending for the grand prize, and she admitted to having a splitting headache and feeling wobbly. Strange quipped on air that "it looks like I'm pregnant again."
After finishing in second place, Strange rushed with contest winner Lucy Davidson to the station's bathroom to vomit. Strange called her employer to say she was too sick to come in and headed home. Her mother discovered her body that afternoon.
A preliminary review by the Sacramento County coroner found that she probably died of water intoxication, also called hyperhydration. People who drink too much water too fast can dilute their body fluids, creating potentially deadly shifts in their electrolyte levels.
An attorney representing Strange's husband and three children on Wednesday dispatched a news release announcing plans to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against the radio station.
The thing that bothers me in this incident is that a grown, supposedly competent (sane) woman was so greedy that she participated in this stupid, ill-thought-out radio stunt, paid a horrible price (her life!) and now her family wants to SUE for wrongful death. Ten people have lost their jobs, three kids have lost their mom- but whose fault was it? The radio djs? I think not. The dead woman could have said, "No." and declined to participate. No one forced her at gunpoint to drink two gallons of water at once. She could have prevented the whole tragedy herself, but she wanted the prize. She ended up with second place Justin Timberlake tickets (who is Justin Timberlake, anyway?) and dead, with a grieving family. But is her family willing to admit that she did a dumb thing? No. They want monetary compensation- it's the radio station's FAULT that she died, not hers! (yes, she did sign a waiver, and any idiot can look up how excess water affects you!). Oh, no, according to the family, she was taken advantage of by the djs, and it's their fault she died because she drank too much water in a promotional contest. It couldn't possibly her fault for being so eager to win the prize that she sacrificed her life. The biggest losers here are her three young children, and I do feel badly for them, but should her family be entitled to compensation from the radio station because of her own carelessness with her life? Only in America...sigh...