Articles Posted in Pool, Spa, Hot Tub Suction Entrapment Law

Suction Entrapment Death Law Firm.jpgThe resort injury lawyers of Brais Brais & Rusak were successful in convincing a Federal court to apply Florida law to a death that occurred in the Bahamas. The case of John Van Hoy, Jr. is heartbreaking. John was on vacation with his fiancée Nicole at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort located Nassau. During his stay, he decided to refresh himself in one of the resort’s hot tubs. As he went under to wet his hair, he became entrapped on the bottom suction drain. Despite the efforts of many people, including other guests at the Sandals’ resort, John remained stuck on the bottom of the hot tub until he drowned. John died that night leaving behind two sons, his mother, father, siblings and Nicole. His death occurred because the hot tub was outfitted by a 12″ x 12″ flat drain cover, the motor / pump assembly were not equipped with a vacuum release system, there were no emergency shut off switches located around the hot tub and it is believed the pump room was locked delaying the shut off of the motor.

Brais Brais & Rusak were hired to represent John’s estate and family. The law firm filed a wrongful death action in Miami, Florida against multiple defendants including: (1) Sandals; (2) the drain cover and pump manufacturer Hayward; (3) the motor manufacturer A.O. Smith as well as the component part distributors Hospitality Purveyors and SCP Distributors. In an effort to significantly reduce the amount of any awardable damages to the Van Hoys, Sandals sought application of Bahamian law to the lawsuit. Under Bahamian law, saviors cannot seek damages for emotion pain and suffer for the death of their loved one and the estate cannot claim damages for any pre-death pain and suffering. As a result, the application of Bahamian law would reduce the Van Hoy’s claim to the amount of the wages John would likely earn in his lifetime and burial expenses. The issue was taken up by the Court in a pretrial motion. Brais Brais & Rusak argued the United States, particularly Missouri and Florida, has a more significant relation to the case than the Bahamas and United States law should apply. The Court agreed with our legal analysis and issued an order finding both Florida law will apply to this case.

This was Brais Brais & Rusak’s second major victory in this case. Last year Sandals and other defendants attempted to dismiss the case in its entirety requesting the case to be tried in the Bahamas. This motion was denied and the case was allowed to proceed in Florida.

Resort and vacation injury lawyers Keith S. Brais and Richard D. Rusak of Brais Brais & Rusak recently won a significant victory in Miami Federal Court in a lawsuit involving the December 28, 2010 hot tub entrapment drowning death of John Van Hoy, Jr., father of two adopted children. See, attached Order dated March 22, 2013 and photo to right.

Vacationers Beware – When You Vacation in the Caribbean, Sandals Resorts Will Argue You No Longer Have A Right to a Jury Trial in the United States

Sandals Resorts heavily advertises in the United States. Historically Sandals Resorts has earned tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars from U.S. vacationers lured to its Caribbean resorts. Sandals Resorts and its sister company Beaches have their sales and marketing agent, Unique Vacations, Inc., a mere stone’s throw from the Miami International Airport. See, photo below:

To avoid the potential of pool and spa suction entrapments, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled dozens of models of drain covers from eight different manufactures. This recall is expected to impact over a million pools and spas nationwide.

Pool, Hot Tub and Spa Suction Entrapment Lawyer Attorney.jpgPool and spa suction entrapments are a real danger to swimmers. According to the CPSC, from 1999 to 2010 there were 97 suction entrapments nationwide, 12 of which involved deaths. The CPSC recalled these drain covers because they were incorrectly rated to handle the flow of water which could pose a possible suction entrapment hazard. The recall is a result of a several month investigation wherein obtained over 17,000 documents from testing laboratories used by the drain manufactures.

There has been a strong federal and state government interest in pool regulation in recent years. This interest primarily stems from the 2002 suction entrapment death of 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker “Graeme”. On June 15, 2002, Graeme went to a graduation pool party at a friend’s house. Shortly after arriving, she entered a hot tub and became pinned to bottom drain. Although two adults were eventually able to pull Graeme  from the bottom, she drowned. From this tragedy, Congress passed the 2007 Virginia Graeme Baker Act. As of December 19, 2008, this law: