Family Of 6-Year-Old Boy Who Drowned In Bridgeview Pool Awarded $21.5M

December 05, 2018 - 6:56 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A jury awarded the family of 6-year-old Michael Duda $21.5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday, four years after the boy drowned at a summer camp in south suburban Bridgeview.

The verdict was delivered in Cook County Circuit Court after the jury found that two suburban park districts failed to supervise Michael during an outing on June 17, 2014, at a public pool, 8100 S. Beloit Ave. in Bridgeview, according to Clifford Law Firm, which represented the family. Justice’s park district was deemed 80 percent at fault, while Bridgeview’s was held 20 percent at fault.

The $21.5-million verdict is believed to be the largest ever awarded for a child’s drowning death in Illinois, the law firm stated.

Counselors at the Bridgeview Park District’s “Fun in the Sun” summer camp that Michael was enrolled at were made aware that he could not swim, the law firm said. But instead of being directed to the wading pool, he was allowed to wander into the main one and drowned about 10 feet from the edge of the pool.

He was found unresponsive and first responders were unable to revive him, the law firm said.

An autopsy after his death determined that Michael, who lived in Justice, had drowned, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled an accident.

“This is a terrible tragedy for the entire Duda family,” said Bradley M. Cosgrove, partner at Clifford Law Offices. “Although no amount of money will bring back their little boy, the parents and his two siblings, including his twin sister, needed to have accountability.”

The trial unearthed video that camp counselors were not supervising children properly, the law firm said. Three of the ones in charge of Michael’s age group were inside a locker room while he was drowning.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2018. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)