Panish Shea & Boyle attorneys Brian Panish, Kevin Boyle and David Rudorfer obtained a $3,000,000 settlement for the family of a teenage boy who drowned while swimming in a Los Angeles County public pool. The family was also represented in the case by Bradley Yourist and Daniel Yourist of Yourist Law Corporation.
In June 2013, Enodre Thomas accompanied three friends to Jesse Owens Park in Los Angeles to spend the day at the public swimming pool. Before being allowed to swim in the deep end, pool patrons are required to successfully complete a “swim test” with lifeguards on duty. Mr. Thomas entered the water and began his swim test, however he did not resurface and lifeguards failed to notice his lifeless body at the bottom of the pool. After looking for Thomas around the pool area, his friend saw him face down at the bottom and made several unsuccessful attempts to bring him to the surface while another friend called out to lifeguards who were slow to respond to help.
Thomas was eventually pulled from the pool, lifeguards negligently administered CPR and the teenage boy was transferred to a local hospital where it was determined Thomas was brain dead as a result of a lack of oxygen. He died days later.
Although lifeguards are trained that they are not to engage in a shift rotation while these “swim tests” are being performed, or allow a test to be permitted from a lifeguard stationed in a high tower, plaintiffs were able to prove that both guidelines were negligently disregarded by the lifeguards on duty that day.
Defendants contended that Thomas suffered from cardiomegly (enlarged heart) and cardiomyopathy (diseased heart) and that he suffered a sudden death heart attack while performing the swim test. They also contended Thomas was only under water for less than one-minute while Plaintiffs contended the evidence reflected he was under water for at least seven minutes before he was pulled from the pool.
Plaintiffs further contended that the Defendant Lifeguards then negligently administered CPR procedures until emergency personnel arrived who transported Thomas to a local hospital where it was determined the teen was brain dead as a result of lack of oxygen to the brain which could have been from the drowning or from the alleged sudden heart attack.