The family of a security guard who worked for Mark Zuckerberg and died from a heart attack after walking up a steep hill is now pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the Meta founder.
Rodney Medeiros, 70, was found with his hand on his chest while working a shift at Zuckerberg’s property at Kualoa Ranch in Kauai, Hawaii. He was rushed to hospital, and died later the same day.
He was working at the bottom a steep hill on Pilaa Beach when it started to raining, forcing Medeiros to walk up the cliffside hill alone on August 4, 2019.
The heart attack the security guard suffered after attempting to climb the hill was so severe that it ripped a hole in his heart and he started bleed out, according to his family.
After being approached by Zuckerberg’s security manager following his tragic death, Medeiros’ family was offered money to support funeral expenses. They declined.
But the next morning, they received a check for $7,500 as a contribution ‘given by Mark [Zuckerberg] and Priscilla [Chan].’
The family are now suing the Zuckerberg-owned company, Pila Land LLC, for negligence and wrongful death.
Rodney Medeiros (pictured), 70, died of a heart attack after walking up a cliffside on Mark Zuckerberg’s Hawaii property alone in the rain
Medeiros, who was working as a part-time security guard, was later found by the property’s staff while he was leaning against a tree clutching his chest
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan offered to pay for Rodney’s funeral expenses, to which the Medeiros family declined. They were later sent a check for $7,500
Ziba Medeiros, Rodney’s daughter, told Hawaii News Now: ‘It’s $7,500 for our father’s life. Is this supposed to make it OK?’
‘When he had that heart attack, it ripped a hole in his heart so he was bleeding out.’
Because of the intensity of the rain, staff was not able to pick up Medeiros via ground transport. He was found leaning against a tree holding his chest, just hours before he died.
Routinely, the retired sugar cane worker would be taken down the hill on a four wheeler and would be brought back up the same way.
Medeiros’ heartbroken daughter said: ‘They would take him with a Kawasaki Mule and drive him to his post.
‘And then when his shift was over, they would go down and pick him up and bring him back up.’
A spokesperson for Zuckerberg’s family, Ben LaBolt, said on-site medic support was provided to Medeiros, who was transported to Wilcox Hospital.
The hospital’s cardiologist added that Medeiros’ heart attack was because of ‘the physical stress of climbing the hill was a substantial factor that caused the acute event.’
Michael Green, an attorney representing the Medeiros family, said it would have cost the ranch $1,000 to upgrade the tires on the four wheelers that would have transported him to the top of the hill.
‘It didn’t need to happen,’ Green said. ‘(He) wouldn’t have had to walk.’
The Medeiros family is now suing the Zuckerberg-owned company, Pilaa Land LLC, claiming negligence and wrongful death. Normally, a four wheeler would have picked Rodney up from the bottom of the hill, but he was left alone because of heavy rainfall
While initially being surprised by the $7,500 check, Ziba said the family changed its mind and agreed that the sum of money from the billionaires would not suffice
In a meeting recorded by the Medeiros family, Zuckerberg’s security manager claimed that the company had issues with using four wheelers in heavy rain before, making Medeiros’ walk up the cliffside not unusual
When asked how much money the Medeiros family would want for Rodney’s death, the family could not put a dollar amount on his life.
‘There’s nothing that’s going to make it OK,’ Ziba said. ‘There’s nothing that’s going to bring him back.’
While initially being surprised by the $7,500 check, Ziba said the family changed its mind – the money from the billionaires would not suffice.
In a response to the incident, LaBolt said the check was a contribution given to the family by the owners of the ranch – the Zuckerbergs – which Rodney worked on.
The money was meant ‘to help with burial and funeral expenses,’ LaBolt added.
A cause for the lawsuit is in part a result of the conversation the family had with Zuckerberg’s security manager.
The conversation, which the family recorded, involves the manager saying the ranch had previously had issues with transporting staff during heavy rains.
‘I know it’s happened on previous visits,’ the manager is heard saying. ‘The guards have to walk up.’
LaBolt responded to the claim that the ranch had issues with rain before, adding the ranch had ‘a training program all drivers must undergo to operate’ the four wheelers.