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Los Angeles, California

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Lance Rubin
Lance Rubin
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Homeowner Can't Be Sued for Child's Death If Parents Are Present

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Every parents’ worst nightmare – their child drowning in a neighbors’ swimming pool. You may remember the case against Tommy Lee brought by parents whose son drowned in the rocker’s pool.

The law in California used to allow parents to sue the property owner when such a tragedy occurred. Now courts have placed a restriction on the ability of parents to sue for a child’s death if they were present in the house when the drowning occurred. The court’s theory is that

“Imposition of such a duty on homeowners would make them insurers of their guests’ children’s safety,” Justice Robert Mallano wrote, “even when the parents are also present on the premises, a burden that is beyond all reasonable expectation of both homeowners and their guests.”

Other states, including Illinois, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, had refused to hold homeowners accountable when a parent was on the grounds. The theory that holds the homeowner responsible is that if they have a swimming pool, which would naturally attract kids to play and swim, they have a duty to protect the children in the pool and keep a reasonable look-out for the kids’ safety. Now, if the child’s parent is present, it is going to be tougher to bring a successful claim.

Having a firm with experience in the field, such as Kiesel Boucher Larson, can help parents try to recover.