Under Florida law, when someone dies as a result of negligence caused by another person or entity, the victim’s family has the legal right to file a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the responsible parties to collect damages for the loss of a loved one. Unfortunately, that is what transpired after the related drowning death of 15 year old mildly autistic youth, Kadeem Jesse Shillingford, a student at the Pepin Academy, a Charter School for children with learning disabilities, while attending a back to school party at Temple City Family Recreation Center.
The Shillingford case is about a tragic death of Kadeem Jesse Shillingford, which occurred in September 2012, while he attended an evening back to school swimming pool party at the Temple City Family Recreation Center’s pool sponsored by the Pepin Academy, the school he attended. Security cameras showed the 15 year old youth, who could not swim, going down the slide in the deep end of the pool struggling and sinking to the bottom of the pool. He was subsequently noticed by another child. After spending four days on life support, the youth died.
The youth’s father, Seaford Conrad Shillingford, exercised his legal rights by bringing a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the City and Pepin Academy. The complaint filed in the case claimed negligence against the City for lifeguards not being attentive, insufficient lighting and a pool that was not adequately suited for nighttime swimming and that Pepin failed to properly supervise the youth despite staff being aware that his son could not swim. The case was recently settled with damages paid by the City in the amount of $450,000 and Pepin academy in the amount of $425,000. Since the case, the City has changed its policies requiring a careful count of expected pool party guests in order to provide additional lifeguards as needed to avoid similar tragedies from occurring.
Far too often, we hear about the negligence and carelessness of others cutting short a loved one’s life in incidents involving a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, defective products and more recently criminal acts including bullying and college hazing regarding younger individuals. A wrongful death action leaves anguished families looking for answers and seeking justice against those responsible for such acts which caused the needless and wrongful death of their family member.
If you believe that someone else has negligently or carelessly caused the death of a loved one, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced wrongful death Tampa/St. Petersburg attorney to seek advice about whether a wrongful death lawsuit is the right option for your loss. At Brooks Law Group, we have years of experience successfully handling wrongful death actions on behalf of victim’s families. Our team of skillful and aggressive attorneys can provide you with a free consultation and advice about pursing a wrongful death action and seeking justice for your loved one.