Parents of Summer Camp Drowning Victim File Suit Against Camp, Family Owners Suit alleges “negligent hiring, retention, supervision and training” in death of 6-year-old Roxie Forbes By EDDIE RIVERA, Community Editor with STEPHEN SICILIANO, Managing Editor Published : Monday, December 16, 2019 | 5:26 AM
Six-year-old Pasadenan Roxie Forbes, a non-swimmer, drowned at the Altadena-based Summerkids Camp last June 28.
She was briefly resuscitated, but removed from life support the following day. Now her parents, Doug Forbes and Elena Matyas, have filed a lawsuit against the Summerkids Camp and its owners—eight members of the DiMassa family—and a number of others, including a licensed MD on the camp staff.
The suit, filed in Superior Court November 5, also names at least four other employees employed by Summercamp Kids.
The suit alleges that the camp’s “negligent hiring, retention, supervision and training” practices led to the wrongful death of their only child. The parents are demanding a jury trial.
According to the complaint, Forbes and Matyas are asking the court for an as-yet-undetermined sum, but called for additional “exemplary and punitive damages to make an example of and punish” the camp and its owners.
Roxie entered the camp pool June 28 at about 9:25 a.m., accompanied by her “counselor buddy,” Daniel H. “Hank” Rainey, said the complaint.
“Defendants,” claims the complaint, “knew it was unsafe for Roxie to have full access to the pool, but the Summerkids Camp staff including counselors and lifeguards did nothing to actually restrict Roxie to the steps or shallow end. Rather than safeguard Roxie, Rainey and Joseph Natalizio were distracted and preoccupied with other campers prior to the tragic drowning.”
“About ten to fifteen minutes after Roxie entered the swimming pool,” the complaint continued, “Robert Antonucci, a counselor who was working with other campers about thirty to forty-five feet outside the gate of the swimming pool was the first person to finally notice Roxie floating face down in the pool. When Robert Antonucci saw Roxie, she was floating approximately twenty feet away from the steps in four to four-and-a-half feet of water.”