Family gets $7 million in pool drowning case

Friday, December 13, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The mother of a teenager who drowned at an apartment complex's swimming pool has been awarded nearly $7.2 million.

A Jackson County jury Wednesday awarded the money to Jessica Washington. Her son, Carlos Sango, 17, drowned in July 1999 when his shirt became entangled in a broken pool drain cover.

Washington's attorney argued that the pool water was so cloudy that Sango was not found until someone swimming tripped over his body. A maintenance worker testified that he told a manager days before the accident that the drain cover needed to be fixed.

The defense contended that there was no proof the drain was involved in Sango's death and that the pool water was not especially dirty.

Jurors returned a verdict of about $2.2 million in actual damages against the apartment owners, Manchester Acquisition Partners LP of Kansas City, and Realty Asset Management Inc. of Creve Coeur, Mo.

Jurors later awarded $5 million in punitive damages, for a total of about $7.2 million.

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