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Lawsuit filed over drowning death of Justice boy

Updated: August 26, 2014 6:47AM



The estate of a 6-year-old Justice boy who drowned while swimming at a Bridgeview swimming pool last month has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the villages of Bridgeview and Justice and their respective park districts.

The suit was filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court by Andrzej Kolodziej, who was appointed as an administrator of the estate of Michal Duda. The suit claims the villages and park districts were negligent and holds them responsible for Duda’s death.

Duda, of the 8100 block of Concord Lane, died June 17 at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, officials said. He had been pulled unresponsive from the Bridgeview Park District pool in Commissioners Park the previous day.

Duda was at the pool with the Justice Park District’s day camp on a regularly scheduled camp outing, according to a news release from the Justice Park District. Bridgeview Park District lifeguards were monitoring the pool, and Justice day camp staff assisted with administering CPR, according to the release.

An autopsy later determined he had drowned and ruled his death an accident, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said it was investigating allegations of neglect in the boy’s death, although the allegations did not involve his parents.

The suit claims the villages and park districts failed to properly supervise the day camp group, provide enough lifeguards or provide swimming safety instructions for the children.

They also failed to provide sufficient safety orientation or training for camp counselors or lifeguards, according to the suit.

“The death of this young boy was so unnecessary,” Robert A. Clifford, an attorney representing Duda’s estate, said in a statement. “Parents should be able to trust that summer camp programs will act appropriately to ensure that the safety of the children will always be the top priority, especially in the context of aquatic activities. This just shouldn’t have happened.”

The 16-count suit charges the villages of Bridgeview and Justice and their park districts with negligence, wrongful death and willful and wanton conduct. It is seeking a total of more than $800,000 in damages.

Representatives from the Village of Bridgeview, the Bridgeview Park District, the Village of Justice and the Justice Park District could not immediately be reached for comment on the suit Thursday evening.

Sun-Times Media Wire



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