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Family Of Deceased Six Year Old Trapped By Hot Tub Pump Sues Landlord, Manufacturer

In early February, a lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles by the family of a six year old boy who drowned last November in the hot tub of their rental home. The lawsuit claims negligence, premises liability, and products liability and names as defendants the home’s owner, Brian G. Duffy, Rodeo Realty, Inc., and Pentair Aquatics Systems, the manufacturer of the pump that allegedly caused the drowning.

The fatal tragedy took place on November 5, 2016 when the boy entered the hot tub spa by himself. Thomas Catog Rozmiarek had been playing with his twin and his other sibling, but they went into the house, leaving the boy alone.

His mother, Pascal Rozmiarek, had been watching him from the house as he was sitting by the edge of the spa, and looked away for a moment. She then saw that Thomas had disappeared and ran outside. She found him at the bottom of the tub with his hand stuck in the suction jet. His mother reportedly screamed for help and her cousin, a nurse, attempted unsuccessfully to pull the child free from the device.

After failing to extract the boy, the two women rushed to turn off the spa and used buckets to bail water out of the hot tub and finally managed to free him. Firefighters eventually arrived and witnessed the nurse performing CPR on the boy. Paramedics managed to restore Thomas’ pulse and breathing as they rushed him to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead that night at 1:13 am.

The family is now alleging that the boy was a victim of what’s known as “suction entrapment,” in which a suction force pins a victim to the drain and makes them unable to break free and return to the surface. The lawsuit states that “Many children have died and been catastrophically injured as a result of suction entrapment.”

Thomas’ family believes that two factors contributed to the death. First, they believe that the property owner, Brian G. Duffy, and the property managers, Rodeo Realty, Inc, were negligent because they did not install a drain cover for the pump which is designed to prevent accidents such as these from occurring.

Secondly, they believe that Pentair Aquatics Systems should have included a safety vacuum release system on the Pentair Intelliflo pump which Duffy bought in 2011. Pentair had developed this system to shut down the pump when entrapment was taking place, and the lawsuit claims the cost of implementing this feature “is not substantial and pales in comparison to the life-saving benefits of SVRS.”

Pentair maintains that the lack of drain cover, and not their product, should be blamed for the boy’s death: “We are extremely saddened by the tragic event that occurred on Nov. 5, 2016, in Encino…It appears that it was the missing drain cover, and not Pentair’s product, which caused this accident.”

When a loved one is severely injured or killed in a preventable accident, there are often many parties that contributed to the tragedy. Legal representation can help you hold those responsible to account. Call the office of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian today at (800) 529-6162 or contact them online.

About the Author

Charles GilmanCharles Gilman
Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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