MONTGOMERY, ALA—Beasley Allen has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the parents of two young boys who drowned Monday in their apartment complex swimming pool. The brothers, Victor Garcia, 7, and Cristubal Basurto Garcia, 5, were found in the pool around 6:45 Monday evening and were taken to Baptist South Hospital where they were pronounced dead. The Montgomery Police Department has said it believes the drownings to be accidental.
The incident occurred at Cyprus Court Apartments, where the boys’ parents, Erika Basurto and Maurillio Garcia, reside.
“Obviously, this is a very difficult time for the family, a heartbreaking time,” said Jere Beasley, founding shareholder of the Beasley Allen law firm. “We’re helping them find their way through what can be a complicated process, to get to the bottom of what happened, and what led to the deaths of these two young brothers. As summer approaches, this tragedy brings home the dangers swimming pools can pose for children.”
Each year as summer approaches, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) launches safety campaigns aimed at reducing the number of child drowning deaths and submersion injuries in private and commercial swimming pools. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 10 people drown in non-boating related accidents in the U.S. every year. Of those, two are children aged 14 years and younger.
In fact, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children up to 14 years old. For every one child who drowns, four more are treated for non-fatal submersion injuries, which can often lead to brain damage and a life of physical and mental impairment.
The deaths of the Garcia brothers in Montgomery and other drowning victims are especially tragic because they are preventable. According to the CDC, one of the leading factors influencing drowning risk is the presence of supervision and physical barriers.
“When children aren’t supposed to be in the water, supervision alone isn’t enough to keep them safe,” the CDC says in explaining the importance of surrounding the pool with a fence, gate, or other barrier that will help keep children out of the pool. “Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time,” according to the CDC.
The Municipal Code in Montgomery, Alabama, requires that all swimming and wading pool areas should be enclosed by a fence, wall or screen enclosure at least 44 inches tall, with a lockable gate. There also are regulations about any openings in the enclosure, which cannot be any wider than would allow the passage of a six-inch diameter sphere. These measures are required for all pools at commercial and private residences alike.
In their lawsuit, Ms. Basurto and Mr. Garcia claim that Cyprus Court Apartments, its property manager, and the New Orleans-based management company were negligent in providing reasonably safe conditions for its pool area, including their failure to take adequate steps in preventing children from accessing the pool, maintaining a pool that attracted children yet failed to prevent their access, and violating local, state, and national standards concerning the design and maintenance of a swimming pool.