01 Oct David Turner v. Vagabond Inn
During the early evening hours of June 22, 2003, five-year-old David Turner and his siblings were playing at the swimming pool at the Vagabond Inn. There was no adult supervision being provided and there was no hotel employee monitoring the pool.
The pool had one underwater light that was not operational on the evening of the incident. Other lighting in or around the pool area was insufficient to properly illuminate the deck, the water’s surface and the bottom of the pool.
David entered the water and became distressed when he got into water over his head. His older siblings were able to rescue David, but only after he lost consciousness.
David’s mother and grandmother were alerted to the incident by one of the siblings. The grandmother called the front desk and instructed them to call 9-1-1. She then ran out to the swimming pool.
The hotel operator called 911, but could not provide the dispatcher with information about the incident as there was no phone at the pool. The 911 dispatcher pleaded with the hotel operator to leave his station and to go out to the pool in order to obtain more information, including whether or not CPR was being performed and whether or not CPR instructions were needed to be provided over the telephone.
Upon arrival at the pool, David was found on his back, and assessed to be unresponsive and in cardiac arrest. The mother, along with another woman, administered CPR until the arrival of Tucson Fire Department Paramedics.
Upon arrival on the scene, Firefighters and EMS personnel were faced with a locked gate and couldn’t immediately access the pool and the patient. When the gate was finally opened, they provided Basic and Advanced Life Support care, and transported David to University Medical Center.
David suffered acute respiratory distress syndrome due to the aspiration resulting in severe hypoxic brain injury.
Beaches in the Standard of Care
The following breaches were identified by the Plaintiff’s Expert:
The hotel failed to implement appropriate layers of protection to safeguard children during a lack or lapse in adult supervision.
The hotel failed to prevent unauthorized access of young children into the pool area without adult supervision.
The hotel failed to provide supervision to guests using the pool.
The hotel failed to conduct a Threat Assessment of the swimming pool and the swimming pool area to determine the hazards and risks associated with this pool.
The hotel failed to educate and warn guests of the hazards and risks associated with the swimming pool.
The hotel failed to educate and warn guests of the need for vigilant adult supervision of children while in and around the swimming pool.
The hotel failed to have a telephone at the swimming pool.
The hotel failed to have a CPR-certified person on the premises while the pool was in use and they failed to have a CPR-certified person on the premises to respond to this incident.
The hotel failed to establish and enforce rules and regulations requiring adult supervision of children in and around the swimming pool.
The hotel failed to close the pool 1/2 hour before sunset and failed to prohibit night time aquatic recreation activities when the pool did not meet the minimum illumination requirements.
This case went to trial on April 1 and was scheduled for a 2-week period. The case settled on the morning of the 6th day of trial prior to the defense putting their experts on the stand to provide testimony.