The father of a 7-year-old boy who died when he was electrocuted in the family’s pool has filed a lawsuit against the company that made the pool light and the one that serviced the family’s swimming pool.
Calder Sloan died on April 17 when he jumped into his family’s pool and was electrocuted. The child’s death was wake-up call to many pool owners around South Florida.
“It’s not that isolated,” Chris Sloan, Calder’s father, said. “We’re not the first, but we certainly want it to be the last."
Calder’s memory was honored by thousands across the Internet as a self-portrait he drew called “Mr. Awesome” was photographed and shared across social media by people including stars for the Miami Heat.
The Sloan family’s lawsuit alleges that the company that made the pool light, Minnesota-based Pentair Water Pool and Spa, was to blame for the tragedy. Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that Pentair, “failed to use reasonable care in designing, manufacturing, testing, inspecting, and marketing of the pool light…and its parts…to prevent them from electrocuting Calder Sloan.”
“You put faith in manufacturers to make products that are safe and we never fathomed that these kinds of tragedies could happen,” Chris Sloan said. “My son was electrocuted by swimming in his pool.”
“We’ve determined that it had to do with the light fixture that was defective as well as a lack of grounding and lack of bonding which made it an electrical death trap,” the Sloan’s attorney, Ervin Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said it wasn’t just Pentair to blame for the accident. He also said All Florida Pool and Spa Center is also at fault saying in the lawsuit the company was “failing to use reasonable care in the inspection and maintenance of the…pool and make it safe…warn the Sloan’s of any defect or maintenance that needed to be done.”
“We had our pool inspected every single week since we have lived here and just because professionals come out, inspect your pool, and tell you things that are…that does not mean that everything is 100 percent and we found out,” Chris Sloan said.
Gonzalez said all of the emergency backups failed Calder when he needed them most.
“We know that if it had been properly grounded that even if the light had been defective, it would have caught it, the circuit breaker and knocked it off,” Gonzalez told NBC 6’s Willard Shepherd.
“We’re going to have to live with our son’s death,” Sloan said. “We hope they themselves now are going to have to live with that and make changes and the fact is it’s pretty evident there are manufacturing defects that were in our light.”
NBC 6 reached out to the defendants named in the suit and received a response from Pentair which can be seen below. The companies have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. The Sloan family has scheduled a press conference to give more details about the lawsuit to the public.
"We are extremely saddened by the tragic event that occurred April 17th 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 wrote in a statement.