CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The family of a 7-year-old boy who was electrocuted in a swimming pool has filed a lawsuit against four companies.
Calder Sloan was electrocuted on April 13, 2014, while swimming in his family’s pool in North Miami. His father and attorney will hold a news conference Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the lawsuit further with the media.
The wrongful death complaint claims he was electrocuted due to a faulty pool light and electrical grounding and bonding on the pool’s lighting system.
Calder’s father, Chris Sloan said, “Why are we in grief? Negligence of those who failed to do their jobs. Servicing the pool, the electrial system, making a product to be safe. They all failed.”
The suit was filed against Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Inc., which manufactured and designed the pool light. All Florida Pool & Spa Center was also named in the lawsuit because it provided periodic cleaning, maintenance and inspections of the pool in which Calder Sloan died. The lawsuit cites Gary B Electric and Construction Consultant, the electrician, for improper bonding and grounding. Also listed in the lawsuit is JP, or Jorge Perez Enterprises Inspection Company, who inspected the home when it was purchased.
The complaint alleges Pentair was negligent and failed to use reasonable care when designing, manufacturing, testing, inspecting and marketing the pool light and its parts, including the pool light’s thermal protection sensor, to prevent failure, overheating, and ultimately, electrocution.
All Florida Pool & Spa Center is alleged to have failed to use reasonable care in the inspection and maintenance of the pool and its equipment and failed to adequately warn the Sloan family of any known hazards and defects with the pool light and the home’s grounding system.
Attorney Ervin Gonzalez said, “any one of these things could have prevented his death, but it didn’t. It failed!”
CBS4 reached out to all the defendants in the lawsuit:
We are extremely saddened by the tragic event that occurred April 17 in South Florida. Our thoughts are with the Sloan family. We are working with the appropriate parties to conduct a formal inspection to learn the cause of this very unfortunate accident,” Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Inc. responded.
All Florida Pool and Spa’s President, David Cohen said, “Here at All Florida Pool & Spa we are all aware and saddened by the events surrounding the tragic and premature death of Calder Sloan. Our prayers and sympathies are and have been extended to the family. We need to state for the record that we had no involvement in the construction, repair and installation of any mechanical, cosmetic and structural portions of this pool. That includes the electric pool light which is a focal point of this investigation. Our function on this property for the Sloan Family was limited to cleaning the pool. We run a licensed and insured professional pool company and have done so locally for over 40 years. We help thousands of customers a year. In this case we want to reiterate, that we have had no involvement in the sale or installation of the pool equipment in question. We wish a healthy emotional recovery to the family that Calder Sloan leaves behind.”
The home inspection company and the electrician listed in the case did not respond.
Calder Sloan was described as a kind-hearted, energetic and talented young boy now known to the world as “Mr. Awesome,” after a self-portrait went viral and was shared around the world.
After his death, Calder’s family vowed to fight to keep other kids safe from potential pool hazards and they started a website to share his legacy, www.calderslegacy.com/poolsafety/.
His story has resulted in thousands of people around America getting their pools inspected and repaired. More than $100,000 has been donated to Calder’s Legacy Charity benefitting his school, Lehrman Community Day School.
“We were told by Calder’s teachers that he would change the world one day,” said Chris Sloan, Calder’s father. “He is saving lives by raising nationwide awareness to the dangers of poor electrical wiring in pools and homes that in our case had fatal and tragic consequences. We hope Calder’s story continues to be heard and serves as a deterrent so that this type of preventable accident never happens to anyone else. It is our long-term goal to pursue changes in laws, building codes, and inspections to ensure no other family suffers this unfathomable tragedy.”
Unfortunately, Calder’s case is not an isolated incident. Two weeks following Calder’s death, three children were shocked while swimming at a Miami condominium complex involving an ungrounded pool pump. Fortunately the three children survived.