Violation of Swimming Pool Code Causing Death Of A Child

$300,000 (.30 million) (policy limits) Violation of Swimming Pool Code causing death of a small child. Orange County adopted a model Swimming Pool Code that required child-resistant, one-way locks to all doors leading through residential swimming pool enclosures (which allow doors to open from the inside, but not from the outside). The stated purpose of the law is to deny small children access to unsupervised pool areas where they could drown.

The homeowner’s pool enclosure and its locks were originally built to code. But, because the one-way locks also operated to deny the adult homeowner access to her own pool from the backyard, she permanently disabled the locks to the doors leading through the pool enclosure by completely breaking off the locking mechanism. This act defeated the purpose of the pool code and rendered her unsupervised pool accessible to small children.

On July 4th, although she knew the child could not swim, the homeowner invited the child over for a swimming party. The homeowner knew that the locks to the doors leading through the pool enclosure were broken off, but concealed that fact from the child’s mother. As a result, the homeowner also knew that the child could secretly access her unsupervised pool from the backyard, but also concealed that fact from the child’s mother. The homeowner then helped dress the child in a new swim suit and watched the child cry because she wanted to go swimming. The homeowner watched the child’s mother tell the child that she could not go swimming until later when the adults went with her. Thus, the homeowner knew the child’s mother did not want the child to go swimming. Finally, the homeowner watched the mother send her child (wearing her new swimming suit) next door with her older sister. Still, the homeowner concealed from the child’s mother that, due to the homeowner’s violation of law, the child could secretly gain access to her unsupervised pool from the backyard (out of the view of all adults).

Within minutes the child was found floating face down in the homeowner’s pool. The insurance company of the homeowner blamed the child’s mother for failing to guard against a secret danger she did not, and could not know about (and that the homeowner did know about) and therefore denied all responsibility for the accident until the day before trial.


The results in the cases portrayed on this website are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not a guarantee, promise or representation of similar results in pending or future litigation. The results in each case were dependent on the facts of each individual case, and the results in any case will vary if based on different facts and/or law.

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