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California top court to decide defibrillator issue

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SAN FRANCISCO — Mary Ann Verdugo, 49, was shopping with her mother in a Southern California Target store when she collapsed in the jewelry department and died there of a sudden cardiac arrest before paramedics arrived.

Target officials extended their condolences to the Verdugo family, calling the incident an unfortunate but unpreventable tragedy. The family disagreed and filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, arguing that Target should have had a device called an automatic external defibrillator on hand and a worker trained to use it to jolt Verdugo’s heart back to beating.

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