Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Court rules motel owner must pay in drowning

Court rules motel owner must pay in drowning
By Zane Wilson - For The Sun News - Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009

GEORGETOWN -- A Georgetown motel owner or his insurance company must pay for the 2004 drowning death of a Baltimore boy because the hotelier did not answer the lawsuit in time, according to a state Supreme Court ruling Monday.

The next step is a jury trial to find out how much must be paid to compensate for the June 19, 2004, death of Dominick Richardson, said William Walker Jr., the attorney representing the boy's family.

Dwight Hudson, attorney for the motel owner, said he was surprised at some of the wording of the high court's opinion and will ask that the justices reconsider.

Richardson was vacationing with his family when he died in the pool at Harbor Inn on Church Street in Georgetown.

His mother, Leola Richardson, filed suit the following May. She got a default ruling on June 24, 2005, when motel owner Jay Patidar did not reply to the lawsuit in the required 30 days.

Walker said "there were numerous safety violations" at the pool, documented by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. The agency regulates swimming pools open to the public.

He said there was no phone by the pool to call for rescue, and a required safety device to pull the boy up was not readily available. If those rules had not been broken, the boy might have been saved, he said.

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Court rules motel owner must pay in drowning

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