A Colorado jury has awarded $3.75 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a 12-year-old boy who drowned in the shallow end of a country club pool.
The Denver Post reported that Bill and Melissa McGarvin-O’Melia, the boys’ parents, sued the Southglenn Country Club after their son, Drennen, drowned during a private birthday party on June 6, 2010. There were two lifeguards on duty at the time.
Drennen, who was found near the base of an unmanned lifeguard chair, was pulled out of the pool by another 12-year-old boy.
The O’Melia’s filed the wrongful death suit against the country club in November 2011, claiming lifeguards were inattentive and the club’s pool safety policies were inadequate.
In addition to the Southglenn Country Club, the lawsuit also named general manager (at the time), Jerald Nonko, and the two lifeguards on duty the day Drennan died, sisters Ana and Mary Malnati.
It was noted that Drennen was a strong swimmer who won several swim races the day before he drowned. Drennen was described as excelling in sports and as a leader in most of the youth programs in which he participated.
There were approximately 25 to 31 people in the pool when Drennen drowned.
During the six-day trial, an expert testified that Drennen was under water for at least five minutes before he was pulled out of the pool.
“He was under water too long and they missed him,” Melissa McGarvin-O’Melia said. “We knew all along that they had missed him and that there was shoddy work being done. Now, to finally be validated in that, gives us a little bit of closure.”
Southglenn Country Club officials declined to comment about the case.
The O’Melia’s still live in Centennial with their two younger sons. The family has created the Drennen’s Dream Fund at the Denver Foundation, a nonprofit organization working toward promoting and improving pool safety and supporting local youth programs. Drennen’s Dreams works to support and provide scholarships for those programs today.
For more information contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).