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Swim club settles suit over near-drowning

The parents of a teenager who was left brain-damaged after nearly drowning in a Parkville swim club have settled their $40 million lawsuit against the club and its pool management company.

William and Mary Becker reached a confidential settlement with Woodcroft Swim Club and D.R.D. Pool Management Inc. on Jan. 31, a month before the trial was scheduled to start in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

H. Briggs Bedigian of Wais, Vogelstein & Bedigian LLC in Pikesville, the Beckers’ lawyer, confirmed the settlement but declined to comment further.

According to the lawsuit, the Beckers’ 15-year-old son was swimming in the deep end of the pool in July 2006 when he began to drown. James Becker was pulled from the water by lifeguards, who administered CPR. When the lawsuit was filed in July 2009, a lawyer for the pool said James was pulled from the water less than a minute after he was seen struggling.

Paramedics quickly arrived and took Becker to Franklin Square Hospital after using an automated external defibrillator, which the lawsuit alleges the swim club should have had on its premises.

James Becker now uses a wheelchair and is unable to speak, according to the complaint, filed in July 2009. He also requires feeding and breathing tubes, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit sought $39 million for negligence and $1 million for negligent infliction of emotional distress for Mary Becker for witnessing the incident.

Neither Linda S. Woolf of Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann LLP in Baltimore, D.R.D.’s lawyer, nor John A. Rego of Anderson & Quinn LLC in Rockville, Woodcroft’s lawyer, returned phone calls seeking comment.

In 2007, Wais Vogelstein obtained a $4 million verdict against D.R.D. on behalf of the parents of a 5-year-old boy who drowned at an Anne Arundel County country club pool. The case was ultimately used by the Court of Appeals last year to examine the constitutionality of Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages, which the court upheld.

BECKER, ET AL, V. D.R.D. POOL MANAGEMENT, ET AL.

Court:

Baltimore County Circuit

Case No.:

03C09008687

Dates:

Incident: July 29, 2006

Suit filed: July 23, 2009

Settlement: Jan. 31, 2011

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys:

H. Briggs Bedigian and Keith D. Forman of Wais, Vogelstein & Bedigian LLC in Pikesville

Defendants’ Attorney:

Linda S. Woolf of Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann LLP in Baltimore and John A. Rego of Anderson & Quinn LLC in Rockville

Counts:

Negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress