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Appeals court affirms dismissal of suit against Nappanee in near-drowning

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The city of Nappanee was not negligent and didn’t breach its duty of care when a 5-year-old boy required CPR after lifeguards rescued the child as he floated face-down in a city pool, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

The court affirmed a decision of summary judgment in favor of the city entered in the Elkhart Superior Court in W.D., a minor by his parents R.D. and S.D., and R.D. and S.D., individually v. City of Nappanee, No. 20A05-1112-CT-698.

The parents brought suit against the city on behalf of their child after taking him and his 8-year-old sister to the public pool on June 24, 2009. The older girl had taken swimming lessons at the pool, and the mother was registering her son for lessons. The boy, who the record says had limiting swimming skills, watched from the shallow end as his sister dove in the deep end on a hot day when about 120 swimmers were at the pool.

After the girl’s second dive, she walked toward the shallow end and saw her brother floating face down in the water near the edge of the pool. At about the same time, lifeguards pulled the boy from the water, cleared the pool and began administering lifesaving CPR.

“What more the City of Nappanee’s lifeguard staff could have done to protect [W.D.] is hard to fathom,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the unanimous panel.

“Although our courts rarely determine whether a breach of duty occurred as a matter of law, this case represents one of those rare exceptions. Because the record lacks any designated evidence of disputed factual questions that would preclude the entry of summary judgment in this case, we affirm the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the City and its dismissal of W.D.’s complaint,” Mathias wrote.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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