VALERIE TRIM, et al.
YMCA OF CENTRAL MARYLAND, INC.
Court for Howard County Case No. 13-C-15-103324
Deborah S., Arthur, Wilner, Alan M. (Senior Judge, Specially
automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device
that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock
to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm."
What is an Automated External Defibrillator?,
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute,
(last viewed July 25, 2017).
are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, " which is
"a condition in which the heart suddenly and
unexpectedly stops beating." Id. When a person
suffers sudden cardiac arrest, "blood stops flowing to
the brain and other vital organs." Id.
cardiac arrest "usually causes death if it's not
treated within minutes." Id. Consequently,
"[u]sing an AED on a person who is having [sudden
cardiac arrest] may save the person's life."
Code (1978, 2014 Repl. Vol.), § 13-517 of the Education
Article establishes a public access program for AEDs in this
State. In brief summary, the statute is designed to encourage
the installation of AEDs in places of business and public
accommodation, but to ensure that the devices are operable
and are to be used by people who are properly trained to use
case principally concerns whether § 13-517 of the
Education Article or its accompanying regulations prescribe a
duty of care that requires a business to use an AED to
provide cardiac defibrillation to someone who has suffered or
reasonably appears to have suffered sudden cardiac arrest. We
hold that they do not.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The Incident at the YMCA
November 12, 2014, Vincent Trim, age 53, suddenly collapsed
while he was playing basketball at a YMCA in Ellicott City.
Julie Heard, a YMCA fitness instructor, was near the doors to
the basketball court at the time. Ms. Heard had 20 years of
training and experience in administering life support and
resuscitation measures, including the use of an AED.
to Ms. Heard, several people ran out of the court, asking
someone to call 911. Ms. Heard heard that someone had
fainted. Another YMCA employee heard that a person was having
a seizure. Yet another employee ran to the front desk to call
Heard ran onto the court. She saw Mr. Trim lying unconscious
on the floor. He had no pulse and was gasping (exhibiting
"agonal breathing"), which is a potential sign of
cardiac arrest. Ms. Heard began to administer cardiopulmonary
resuscitation ("CPR"), and she directed a bystander
to go to the front desk to call 911. While she was
administering CPR, another member told her that she was
already calling 911. Although the YMCA had an AED that was
just outside the doors of the basketball court, Ms. Heard did
not retrieve it or ask anyone to retrieve it for her.
result of Ms. Heard's efforts, Mr. Trim began to breathe
on his own, but his breathing stopped again after a few
seconds. With the assistance of another employee, Ms. Heard
continued to administer CPR until the Howard County
paramedics arrived, about five minutes after they were first
the paramedics entered the court, a YMCA employee heard one
of them say that he needed to go back to the ambulance to
retrieve his AED. The employee told the paramedic that the
YMCA's AED was just outside the doors of the basketball
court. The paramedic instructed the employee to retrieve the
AED, which he did.
paramedics used the AED, but were unsuccessful in
resuscitating Mr. Trim. He died a few days later as a result
of a cardiac arrest and the consequent cessation of blood
flow to his brain and other vital organs.
Wrongful Death Action
April 27, 2015, Mr. Trim's widow, appellant Valerie Trim,
filed a wrongful death and survival action against the YMCA.
Citing the COMAR regulations that were propounded to
implement § 13-517 of the Education Article, appellant
principally alleged that the YMCA "had a statutory
and/or regulatory duty to utilize the AED on its premises . .
. after [Mr. Trim's] collapse in the gymnasium."
Because it did not comply with that alleged duty, appellant
alleged that the YMCA was negligent per
YMCA moved to dismiss the complaint, or alternatively, for
summary judgment. It advanced three grounds: (1) that §
13-517 does not impose an affirmative duty to use an AED; (2)
that the statute contains an immunity provision, which
shields it from liability "for any act or omission in
the provision of automated external defibrillation"; and
(3) that an exculpatory clause within YMCA's membership
agreement, which was signed by Mr. Trim, released it from
hearing on April 28, 2016, the Circuit Court for Howard
County granted the YMCA's motion. Appellant noted a
presents three issues, which we have rephrased as follows:
1. Did the circuit court err in determining that §
13-517 of the Education Article or its implementing
regulations do not establish a statutory duty of care by the
YMCA and its employees?
2. Did the circuit court err in determining that the YMCA and
its employees were immune from civil liability under §
13-517 of the Education Article?
3. Did the circuit court err in determining that the YMCA
membership agreement exculpated the YMCA and its employees
from civil liability? 
response to the first question, we hold that the statute and
regulations do not establish a statutory duty of care that
required the administration of automated external
defibrillation in the circumstances of this case. In view of
our answer to the first question, it is unnecessary to
address the second and third questions. We shall affirm the
circuit court's judgment.
dispositive motion, the YMCA included materials outside of
the pleading. The circuit court did not exclude those
materials. Hence, the court was required to treat the motion,
and did in fact treat it, as a motion for summary judgment.
Md. Rule 2-322(c) ("[i]f, on a motion to dismiss for
failure of the pleading to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted, matters outside the pleading are presented to
and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as
one for summary judgment"); see also Hrehorovich v.
Harbor Hosp. Ctr., Inc., 93 Md.App. 772, 782 (1992).
motion for summary judgment, the court "shall enter
judgment in favor of or against the moving party if the
motion and response show that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and that the party in whose favor
judgment is entered is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Md. Rule 2-501(f).
propriety of a grant of summary judgment is a question of
law. Butler v. S & S P'ship, 435 Md. 635,
665 (2013) (citation omitted). In an appeal from the grant of
summary judgment, this Court conducts a de novo review to
determine whether the circuit court's conclusions ...