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ARTICLE ID 194174

$________ – NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION BY LIFEGUARD ON DUTY – INSUFFICIENT PROCEDURES BY CLUB – INSUFFICIENT SUPERVISION OF LIFEGUARD – DROWNING OF 5-YEAR-OLD NON-SWIMMER IN SHALLOW END OF POOL – BYSTANDER EMOTIONAL DISTRESS CLAIM OF 7-YEAR-OLD BROTHER

Waterbury County, CT

In this negligence matter, the plaintiffs allege that the defendant club was negligent in supervising and overseeing the supervision of young children, most of whom were non-swimmers, in the defendant’s pool during an after school program. The decedent, a five-year-old non-swimmer, drowned and could not be resuscitated when the lifeguard failed to property supervise the children in the pool. The defendant denied any wrongdoing, and alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent suffered a cardiac event, which was the actual cause of her death.

The 5-year-old female decedent and her seven-year-old brother were enrolled in an after school program provided by the defendant boys and girls club. The after school program picked the children up at schools and drove them to the defendant’s club where they remained, participating in various activities, until the parent pickup occurred.

On June 9, ________, the five-year-old decedent, and her seven-year-old brother were participating in the after school program at the defendant’s club. As part of the activities, the children were participating in a "free swim," which was a period of time that the children could go into the pool and swim. The club did not require the children to wear flotation devices, and did not require a swim test. The decedent, who was unable to swim, had been advised to stay in the shallow end of the pool, with the other non-swimming children. The decedent was only 4 feet tall at the time. She, and approximately 31 other children, were in the pool and being supervised by a 20-year-old certified lifeguard. The lifeguard was wearing street clothes and was seated at pool level and drinking an iced coffee while supervising the children. The decedent became submerged in the shallow end of the pool, and this was noticed by another little girl who told the decedent’s seven-year-old brother. The brother attempted to pull his sister out of the water, but was unable to do so, and asked the lifeguard for help. The lifeguard did not dive into the pool, but rather directed a child to pull the decedent over to her where she was seated near the center of the pool. She pulled the child from the water, and staff members began to perform CPR on the child. The decedent was taken to the hospital were she was removed from life support two days later, after having suffered a massive brain injury. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant facility alleging that the defendant was negligent in providing insufficient supervision for the 32 children in the pool through the use of only one lifeguard. The plaintiff alleged that the lifeguard was negligent in wearing street clothes, in failing to have a proper vantage point, and in being distracted by drinking while she was lifeguarding. The plaintiff further alleged that the defendant facility had inadequate procedures in place, and there was also a delay in providing resuscitative measures to the plaintiff’s decedent.

The defendant denied the allegations. The defendant argued that they did everything that they could do under the circumstances, and that everything that the lifeguard did in this matter was proper. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s decedent suffered from an undiagnosed cardiac issue, and she was not able to be resuscitated due to her heart condition. The matter was tried over a period of eleven days.At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated and returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. The jury awarded the plaintiff the sum of $________ in damages, consisting of $________ to the mother for economic damages associated with the incident and death; $________ to the brother for bystander emotional distress; and $________ to the estate.

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