Parents Of Drowned Toddlers File Lawsuit Against Apartment Complex Owners | NBC 6 South Florida

Parents Of Drowned Toddlers File Lawsuit Against Apartment Complex Owners



    (Published Friday, May 2, 2014)

    The owners of an apartment complex where two girls died are facing a wrongful death lawsuit. The parents of the two girls said if the gate was locked like it should’ve been, their daughters would be alive today.

    Twin girls Harmony and Harmani West, 2, died three weeks ago when they drowned in a pool at their apartment complex at Tivoli Park. The girls got out of the apartment while their parents were sleeping.

    According to the lawsuit, the twins were able to get to the pool through a gate that was “either not locked or the lock on the gate was not functioning.”

    “The gate in question that resulted in these little girls’ death had been broken for years,” said attorney Andrew Yaffa. “Had Mr. Bateman put one ounce of effort in the requirements surrounding these pools, both of these little girls would be alive today.”

    Yaffa said the gate problems were against the building code and the owners, James and Marta Batmasian, were negligent. Yaffa said the lock has been fixed since the accident, but the twins’ father, Howard West, Jr. said it’s too late and that when his daughter drowned; five of the six apartment pools were not secure.

    “I would like for him to take care of his properties,” West said. “There’s a daycare right to pools. There’s only one pool that’s operating right. Is there anymore I need to say?”

    The lawsuit also mentioned, “The non-functioning gate and lock had existed for a sufficient length of time for the defendants to have constructive knowledge of the hazard.

    “He (the owner) has no problem spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the community seem inviting, safe, welcoming, but once you get through that pretty gate, these communities are anything but. They’re not safe.”

    NBC 6’s Christina Hernandez reached out to the apartment complex, but didn’t get a response Friday.