Last Monday, November 25, an L.A. County Superior Court jury [case number BC704134] awarded Katherine “Kitty” Keck a $12 million judgment against the Pacific Palisades Bel-Air Bay Club for the death of her son, William, who died at age 48 on September 3, 2017.
According to a City News Service story in April 2018 (“Bel-Air Bay Club Sued in Member’s Death”) it was reported that “Keck III laid down on a locker room bench about 2 p.m. after he became ill. An attendant then moved the bench to make room for Keck on the floor, the suit states.
“Club employees and attendants observed and interacted with Keck III during the next three hours as his condition worsened, but no one called 911 until another club member entered the locker room about 5 p.m. and demanded that someone do so, according to the complaint.”
He was taken to UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica where he died about 6 p.m. The suit alleged that “Club employees had a duty of care to Keck III as a club member to recognize his symptoms and his worsening condition and to get him medical aid sooner.”
According to mynewsLA.com (“Keck Family Mother Wins $12 Million in Death of Son at Bel-Air Bay Club”), Keck “died from a heart arrhythmia caused by elevated potassium due to heat exhaustion.”
Law360 ran a November 26, 2019 story (“Bel-Air Bay Club Owes $12M for Heat Exhaustion Death: Jury”), which reported that the jury found that the club had to pay $12 million, allegedly due to the negligence of the club and its employees.
“The jury said Kitty Keck’s damages amounted to $15 million but placed 80 percent of the responsibility for the incident on the club, while assigning the other 20 percent to Bill Keck.” This lowered the judgment to $12 million.
According to Keck’s obituary in the L.A. Times, Keck graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in economics and received a master’s degree in real estate from the University of Southern California.
Keck III was the great-grandson of Superior Oil founder William Keck Sr., the namesake of USC’s Keck School of Medicine and the Keck astronomical observatory in Hawaii.
He served on the Executive Board of the W. M. Keck Foundation and he was a Director of the W.M. Keck Jr. Foundation. A memorial service was held at St. Matthew’s Parish Church in Pacific Palisades. He had no spouse or children.
In her lawsuit against the Bel-Air Bay Club, Keck’s mother was represented by attorney Bruce Broillet of Greene Broillet & Wheeler LLP, who told Law360: “We think that the clubs and facilities have a duty to follow proper first-aid procedure with regard to members or patrons who start to suffer heat exhaustion,” he said. “They need to be calling 911 right away because heat exhaustion is extremely dangerous. It can turn into something much worse very quickly.”
Circling the News reached out to Bel-Air Bay Club attorneys Thomas Edwin Beach and Paul David Singer of Beach Cowdrey Jenkins LLP, to ask if the case will be appealed. There was no response by posting time. If there is a response, the story will be updated.