Santa Barbara jury returns $14 million verdict-drowning death lawsuit

California jury says Cathedral Oaks kiddie camp guilty in 4 year-old’s drowning death.

Santa Barbara, CA(–Southern California health club group, Cal-West, found guilty of the wrongful death of a four year old boy who drowned in a Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club pool in August 2005. As reported by the Santa Barbara Independent, Cathedral Oaks and its parent company Cal-West, a Southern California health club management company, plus 10 other defendants, were named by lawyers representing the parents of a four year old boy. Attorneys accused the named defendants, in court documents, of negligence, which led to the young boy’s drowning death, on the first day of Cathedral Oaks children’s camp.

Santa Barbara court room jurors returned a $14 million verdict to parents, Oded and Anat Gottesman, in compensatory economic and non-economic damages for the death of their child, four year-old Yoni Gottesman. Lawyers sued 11 individual and businesses including employees of Cathedral Oaks. One day before the start of the Southern California wrongful death and negligence jury trial, 10 of the 11 named defendants admitted negligence. Attorneys for the dead boy’s grieving parents proved Cathedral Oaks was further negligent because they did not hold a license to operate a children’s camp.

The judge placed a gag order on the jury after the initial $14 million verdict was found. The jury will hear punitive damages testimony and rule again. Punitive damages will be determined, by the jury, after further testimony against Cal-West and the health club is heard. Civil trial attorneys argue for punitive damages to punish Cathedral Oaks and Cal-West, something compensatory damages does not cover. news for California wrongful death attorneys.

About the Author Justice Seeker

Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with 15 years of experience in the health care industry. Her expertise in reviewing medical records and assisting lawyers with the determination as to whether legal action should be taken provides an invaluable asset to the newsroom. Medical-malpractice, products liability, personal injury and workers’ compensation are some of the recent areas of litigation Ms. Ryan has focused her efforts on. A member of the Florida Justice Association, Heather maintains a long list of certifications and credentials to support her areas of expertise and stays up-to-date with her clinical knowledge working as an emergency room/trauma nurse, at a Level 1, Adult/Pediatric trauma and teaching institution in South Florida.