The Walkup public liability team represented the parents of a 14-year-old eighth-grader who drowned in a public pool when three lifeguards on duty failed to see him submerged in 6 feet of water. The pool, operated by the local park district, provided professional lifeguards. The incident occurred during a junior high school year-end picnic.
At the time, dozens of eighth-graders were in the pool. In spite of industry standards obligating lifeguards to scan their assigned zone every 30 seconds, none of the three lifeguards saw the young man sink below the surface – even though he was directly in front of them. At deposition, none of the lifeguards was able to explain how the drowning occurred. One of the students, and not a lifeguard, was the first person to notice the young man beneath the surface of the water. The decedent was the oldest of five children.