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Judge mulls wrongful death lawsuit in baby sitter's drowning

April 21, 2017

A judge is considering whether to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of an 18-year-old woman who drowned while baby-sitting at the home of two pastors in northwest Indiana.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported that the defendants, Family Christian Center pastors Steve and Melodye Munsey, asked Judge John R. Pera to dismiss the lawsuit, saying complaints should be made to the Worker's Compensation Board of Indiana because Domonique "Nikki" Smith was employed by the church. The board has jurisdiction over disputes between workers and employers.

Smith drowned May 29, 2015, in a pool at the pastors' home while baby-sitting their grandchild. Her mother, Vicki Walker, sued the Munseys in November, alleging negligence and suspicious circumstances surrounding the investigation.

Philip E. Kalamaros, attorney for the pastors and their church, said Smith worked as a baby sitter on behalf of the church on four occasions before her death.

Walker's attorney, Trent McCain, argued that Smith worked as a contractor and not an employee.

Other defendants in the lawsuit include Family Christian World, the church's parent organization, and Darryl Anthony Smith, Domonique Smith's father.

Pera said he would review the filings and make a decision at a later date.

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