Club Hit With $12.5 Million Verdict After Young Girl Drowns in Pool

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Law Tribune Staff, The Connecticut Law Tribune

September 18, 2014 |

A jury has awarded $12.3 million to the family of a young girl who drowned in the indoor pool at Waterbury's Boys and Girls Club in 2008.

The family received $7.2 million for the drowning death of Brianna Murray, $5 million for her brother, who watched her drown, and $100,000 for medical and funeral expenses.

Attorneys Kathleen Nastri and William Bloss, of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, represented the plaintiffs in the wrongful death action.

In late May of 2008, Retemar Coombs registered her children, Brianna Murray and Darnelle Richards, to participate in an after-school program at the Boys Club. The after-school program included swimming in the club's indoor pool. According to the Koskoff lawyers, the mother informed club employees that Brianna, 5, and Darnelle, 7, did not know how to swim.

On June 9, Brianna and Darnelle were in the pool area, along with about 30 other children. According to the lawsuit, there was only one lifeguard supervising the children in the pool. At about 4 p.m., the lifeguard became aware that Brianna had become submerged in the pool. Boys Club employees attempted to resuscitate her, and she was taken to Waterbury Hospital, but she was brain dead and didn't survive.

The lawsuit claims that the club was negligent for failing to adequately monitor the number of children using the pool at a given time. It also states that the there were not enough lifeguards at the pool, and the one that was there was inadequately trained. The claim also said other club personnel were not well-trained either for such an emergency, and that the club failed to adhere to recognized water safety and rescue procedures, did not have a proper emergency rescue plan and failed to warn children of dangers created by inadequate supervision.