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Friday, 29 December 2017 00:00

Parents of a 24-year old man will settle for $1.75 million in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the man’s drowning over the summer.

Written by Jonathan Druckman

The man suffered from an acute cardiac episode while at the pool which caused him to slip underneath the surface of the water.

The large settlement will come from the insurer for the township, Joint Insurance Fund. The case was settled on October 30 before ever going to trial.

The 24-year-old was from Princeton, New Jersey and had been a student at University of Massachusetts before his death on August 20, 2017. The initial investigation conducted by the police ruled his death accidental. A final determination by the police department was made a month after the initial investigation and concluded the same. The man  was swimming in a large pool at the complex with his father that was monitored by two lifeguards who were stationed in elevated guard chairs.

On the day of the incident, the man collapsed in an outdoor Princeton community pool when he suffered the acute cardiac episode. This caused him to go beneath the surface of the water where he died from drowning. This occurred while he was only in four feet of water. Lifeguards were able to pull him out of the water and tried to provide first aid including CPR. His body was found after being submerged for approximately six minutes and he was actually pulled out of the water by other nearby swimmers, according to the report. He was transported to the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro campus.

In the lawsuit filed by his surviving family, the complaint states that the town of Princeton was negligent in the man’s death, the suit alleges that the man suffered conscious pain and suffering during the incident, and that his father suffered emotional distress by witnessing the incident. An expert for the plaintiff’s side stated that the man had fainted while the defense argued that the man had experienced a cardiac arrest that caused him to go underwater.

The lawsuit further contended that the lifeguards were improperly positioned on the same side of the pool which limited their collective view of the pool. Instead, they argued that they should have been positioned on opposite sides of the pool with crossing lines of sight for maximum vision of the swimmers. Regardless of whether the man suffered a cardiac episode or merely fainted, the suit claims that it was the duty of the lifeguards to promptly locate him and render aid to him when he was in the water.

While this is an unusual lawsuit, it is foreseeable that a patron at a public pool could be rendered unconscious and slip beneath the surface of the water and ultimately drown. The failure of the lifeguards to be properly positioned could easily have contributed to a delay in their locating of the victim and a delay in rendering CPR. In the case of a drowning, there is only a few minutes for first responders to institute CPR. AS each minute passes, the odds of resuscitating a drowning victim drastically decline.

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