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.

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