A couple in Beaufort, South Carolina, has disavowed any responsibility in the death of a 6 year old boy found drowned in the family pool during a party.
The family of Camilo Andres Restrepo-Lopez filed a wrongful death suit in October against John and Julia Sanford after Camilo was found in the Sanford family pool following the party hosted by the Sanfords. He was rushed to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston in an effort to revive him, but to no avail. Camilo unfortunately died while in the care of the hospital.
For their defense, the Sanfords argue that they were not told by the Lopez family that Camilo was unable to swim, and that his own family did not attempt to provide supervision of their son. For these reasons and others, the death was ruled an accident by local police authorities, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, and no criminal charges were filed in connection with the death.
This prompted the Lopez’s civil suit, which is claiming actual and punitive damages as compensation for Camilo’s death.
The case is further complicated because it is unclear who will be presiding over the final litigation. The original judge, Judge Marvin Dukes, recused himself from the case for a conflict of interest. He did not make the nature of this conflict clear at the time he recused himself.
The Sanford family are relatives of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.
Cases such as these illustrate the often complex nature of wrongful death lawsuits. There is clearly a duty for parents to make sure their own children are supervised properly, whether that consists of keeping an eye on the kids themselves or by telling the hosts of a party that a child is unable to swim. On the other hand, there is a duty for the hosts of a pool event where children will be present to be sure that everyone is safe.