Score another huge victory for Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing’s Local Government Practice Group. ASWD attorneys Jeff Mando and Lee Metzger have obtained summary judgment for a local health inspector in a case involving the drowning death of a seven-year-old girl, Luisana Cruz.
Cruz’s estate sought millions in damages, alleging that the cloudiness of the pool water at the Summit Country Place apartment complex was the proximate cause of the drowning, which occurred on Memorial Day 2012. Cruz’s estate argued that the health inspector should not have given Summit Country Place’s pool a passing score during his inspections, nor allowed the pool to open for the summer.
But the facts were undisputed that the water was not cloudy at the time of the inspections. The cloudiness, if any, developed in the four days that elapsed between the inspections and the drowning. Thus, if the water became cloudy in those four days, it was due to the negligence of the apartment complex, which was a superseding act of negligence that absolved the health inspector of liability. Furthermore, the health inspector’s actions and judgments during his inspection of the pool were discretionary, rather than ministerial, such that he was immune from suit under the doctrine of qualified official immunity.
Based on these facts and legal principles, Jeff Mando and Lee Metzger were able to persuade the Boone Circuit Court to dismiss the claims against the health inspector.
A PDF of the court’s opinion is available here.