Why do people sue? Not for the money.

Answer their questions and you don’t give someone a reason to find a lawyer.

The headline is Parents file suit against city and club. The lawsuit is over the death of a 6 year old boy who drowned in a city pool less than a month before.

Could you predict this lawsuit was going to happen? I think you could if you were the city. Here are four hints that maybe you are going to be sued.

Hint #1 Even the attorney says the lawsuit is to get information.

“From the family’s point of view, it has been three weeks (since their son died) and they have no information on what happened,” Whitaker said.

“They still don’t know what actually happened.”

He said the lawsuit seeks monetary damages for wrongful death, but a big part of the filing is to have access to information about how the child died.

“All my clients are hearing right now is second-hand,” he said. “It’s terrible for them.”

Hint #2 If you plan to get sued you will get sued.

City officials referred all questions regarding the lawsuit to City Attorney Allen Betz. An employee at Betz’s office said he was out of the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Hint #3 If you don’t answer a parent’s questions you are going to get a lawsuit.

“We just want to know what happened. The family feels the only way they will get answers is through the lawsuit.”

Parents wanted to know what happened to their child and the only answers they received was “call the city’s attorney.” There are three major and stupid reasons for doing this.

1. The attorney was not there and therefore, can’t answer any questions.

2. Attorneys don’t answer questions anyway.

3. Attorneys intimidate people. Who wants to talk to an attorney?

I know, I’m an attorney!

What was another hint?

Hint #4 The lawsuit was filed 25 days after the death. People never file lawsuits that soon.

Within three weeks of the death, the family has all ready hired an attorney. Whether because they felt so frustrated that they felt they had no choice, or because they had to fight fire with fire (attorney v. attorney) or a combination of reasons, that should be a hint you need to do something or pay attorneys!

The only real legal issue in the article is the miscommunication between the parents and the pool employees.

In the lawsuit, Whitaker said Terry Lavka told a woman stationed at the sign-in table when he took his son there for the summer day camp that Samuel Lavka was afraid of water, could not swim and should not be allowed near the big pool.

“They didn’t want him in the pool because he couldn’t swim,” Whitaker said. “They were told that, and the parents believed those instructions would be followed.

If someone tells you or one of your employees something about their concerns, fees or beliefs about what you are going to do, you need to correct them or pay attention to them. Here the parents believed that because they had told the pool employees something that was the way it was going to be.

This is a tragic accident. A six year old boy drowns in a city pool. The tragedy is compounded because the parents still don’t know what happened to their son. Their grief will not end but be compounded for years as the litigation drags on, and they grasp tidbits of answers about what happened.

For other articles about this issue see: It’s Not Money and Serious Disconnect: Why people sue.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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