Drowned woman's kin file lawsuit

August 13, 2008|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,Sun reporter

The family of a 23-year-old Baltimore County woman who drowned in a swimming pool in 2005 filed a $100 million lawsuit yesterday against the apartment complex and pool management company, alleging that unqualified lifeguards with just one week's training were on duty.

Cassandra Blake drowned in the pool at Cedar Towers Apartments in the 3700 block of Twin Lakes Court in Windsor Mill. Blake's family is suing that complex along with the American Pool Management Inc., American Pool Enterprises Inc., Westminster Management and Doug Kusher Co.

Blake was not a resident of apartment complex but had a friend who lived there, according to the suit filed in Baltimore Circuit Court. Blake took her sister, her son and other children to the pool, where she approached a security guard and lifeguard on duty and asked whether they could they use the pool, the lawsuit says. Both the security guard and lifeguard agreed, according to court papers.

Blake, who could not swim, started out in the shallow end but got out of the pool at some point, the lawsuit says. Shortly thereafter, Blake was pushed or she fell into the deep end, then went under and drowned, the lawsuit says.

According to the suit, the lifeguard was not qualified to watch the pool and was not able to see all areas of the water from his stand. The children told the lifeguard that Blake was underwater, court papers say. The lifeguard could not initially find Blake because the water was too cloudy, and he was forced to put on goggles, according to the lawsuit. After re-entering the pool, the lifeguard pulled Blake from the water but could not resuscitate her, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants kept the pool in murky and unsafe conditions, and that the complex failed to provide two or more lifeguards during busy hours.

American Pool, court papers say, hired Jamaicans to come to Baltimore for a one-week lifeguard training program. The lawsuit contends that some of the men were issued licenses even though they didn't pass tests.

Omari Miller, Blake's 11-year-old son, and her parents are named as beneficiaries in the suit.


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