The family of a toddler who drowned at a Decatur, Ga.,
apartment complex will receive a $2.25 million settlement
from the owner. The settlement is reportedly the largest
wrongful death settlement for a child in that state.
The day of the incident, 2-year-old Jonathan Flores was
playing outside with his older brother while their father
worked nearby. Then Jonathan wandered off toward the pool
behind the building. The pool gate was broken and stuck
open, according to the family?s attorney, Michael
Haggard. It allowed the child to gain access to the water,
and he subsequently drowned.
The owner, Tempo Real Estate Corp., had already been
cited for the broken self-latching, self-closing gate, and
used mattress springs to temporarily remedy it, said
Haggard, partner at Haggard, Parks, Haggard & Lewis
According to Stephen Cotter, Tempo?s attorney,
the renters? lease included a clause that made the
parents responsible for their children or guests in the
pool area. This clause was not enforced by the courts, said
the partner at Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers, LLP in
?We?ve gone from a situation where a
landlord could have [an unguarded] pool and rely on the
parents ? to take care of their children and not
sue them [to a different situation],? Cotter
This settlement may make other apartment complex owners
take a closer look at the risks and benefits of having a
pool on site, if they are no longer protected by their
leases, Cotter said.
From 1999 to 2001, the latest statistics available, 49
children under age 5 drowned in Georgia.