Home inspector named in lawsuit of boy electrouted by pool light

On June 23, the Sloan family filed a lawsuit against the light manufacturer, the pool maintenance company, an electrical company that did work on the home, and the home inspector. That suit is ongoing.

I think its interesting that I posted this on another site and it turned into a great educational discussion. Here there have been over 130 views and not one post. I wonder why that is.

May be because your link is broken and we can’t read the story. Or maybe we already know it all. As with most lawsuits, everyone gets named. Good reason to have insurance.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article1968019.html

Holding a photograph of the deadly pink wire with a burn mark that was in the pool the day 7-year-old Calder Sloan was electrocuted, Coral Gables attorney Ervin Gonzalez announced a wrongful death complaint filed Monday on behalf of the victim’s family.

The boy was swimming at his North Miami home on April 13, when the pool light overheated, causing the wiring to fail and send an electrical current through the water.

The Sloan family alleges that the electrocution was the result of a series of avoidable safety blunders leading to the unnecessary death of their son, fondly remembered as “Mr. Awesome.”

When people ask how the family is coping, Chris Sloan, Calder’s father, said he tells friends and family that they are adjusting to the new normal.

But he added, “There’s certainly nothing normal in the horrible way in which he died.”

The family must also cope with their belief that Calder’s death was the result of faulty pool equipment and inspection.

“He suffered,” said Sloan, about the day his son lost his life after diving into the pool for the first swim of the season. “There’s nothing normal about that.”

The pool light, Gonzalez said, had too high a voltage. He added it lacked a way to shut off automatically.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, also claims that the electrical system was not properly grounded and that inspectors failed to catch these problems. The plaintiff will ask for an unspecified amount of monetary compensation.

Four defendants are named in the lawsuit: Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Inc., the manufacturer of the light; All Florida Pool & Spa Center, a pool maintenance company; Gary B Electric and Construction Consultant, Inc., an electrical company, and** Jorge Perez Enterprises, Inc., a home inspection company.**

David Cohen, president of All Florida Pool & Spa, released a statement that said the company was saddened by the loss of Calder, but that “we had no involvement in the construction, repair and installation of any mechanical, cosmetic and structural portions of this pool.”

The three other defendants either declined to comment or could not be reached for comment. Since the case was filed late Monday, there is no official representation for the defendants yet, Gonzalez said.

During Tuesday’s news conference to announce the suit, Gonzalez and Sloan stood flanked by a picture of Calder holding his “Mr. Awesome” crayon self-portrait, which stared out across the room with a large, toothy smile.

They warned that similar design and maintenance failures could be present in pools across South Florida.

“I can almost guarantee you that this problem is out there right now waiting to hurt somebody else,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez urged people to doublecheck their pools and lights. He also warned that pool electrocution is more common than many realize. This spring in Hialeah, three children were taken to a hospital after being shocked in a pool.

The Sloan family has begun a campaign to spread Calder’s “Mr. Awesome” motto of “Adventure. Laughter. Kindness.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article1968019.html#storylink=cpy

terrible for all involved, which other site is this posted at?

Dennis, I do not mention the other sites because this organization tends to bash other organizations. But there have been solutions on there to help home inspectors get better educated as to how to check for pool light grounding. While nothing is 100%, those checks maybe could have prevented this boy’ death, or at least alerted the home owner of the problem.

? I don’t see any evidence of that.

Im not looking to hate on other orgs. Just interested in seeing what you are referring to for educational purposes.

Nick, I am not going to get into this but your hatred for ASHI, NAHI, and FABI have been well documented on this board over the years.

Two are what I refer to as “mini-associations” because of their small size. I make fun of them because in many ways they are the jokes of our industry. For example: ASSHI issues its highest professional designation (ACI) based on the passing of one “minimum standard” (not my phrase, EBPHI’s phrase) NHIE exam used by many states to license newbies fresh out of school. Applicants need not even pass it again, they can use the results from the exam they passed when they first went into business day one (I have that confirmed in writing by ASSHI). That’s the textbook definition of a diploma mill. The other mini association (run by a husband/wife team in Florida) has a benefits page full of fluff and which has for a second line item: “Coming soon.” LOL. I couldn’t make that up if I tried.

As for FABI… I’ve never been to a FABI meeting, never received an email from them that I can remember, never received any snail mail from them, never even been on their website even once. I don’t know anything about them. Post a link to their membership benefits page and we’ll have a looksie.

Curious - who gave you the designation “certified as a Master Professional inspector”

Once or twice a week someone sends me a home inspection report they received from ABC Inspection company that revealed little or nothing wrong with the property. Pools are one of the areas that seem “extremely lacking” when it comes to information or comments, most of the information is not very educational to the buyer and leaves a lot to be desired. As Home Inspectors, it’s up to us to constantly educate ourselves when it comes to codes and regulations…after all, we are require to do so for our licensing. That being said, I’m surprised(and glad) this type of accident hasn’t happened more often. Most systems I inspect are lacking even the simplest safety measures, and newer pools seem to be the worst violators. When bad things happen, the liability gun goes of hitting everyone who is standing in the way…including home inspectors.

And to make it all worse the Florida SOP requires home inspectors, many who don’t know how, to inspect pools as part of the home. In my area the inspectors that never used to inspect pools are now just doing a cursory once over, if they don’t see a crack or some other glaring problem they say nothing. We have the option of getting prior agreement from the client to exclude the pool, unfortunately almost no one seems to use it.

**
61-30.810 Standards of Practice, Exterior Components.
**[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2] (1) Exterior systems and components include the following:
(a) Exterior wall cladding/siding, flashing and trim;
(b) All exterior doors;
© Attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings;
(d) Eaves, soffits and fascias where accessible from the ground level;
(e) Walkways, patios, and driveways leading to the dwelling entrances;
(f) Garages and carports.
(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible exterior systems and components.
(3) The inspector is not required to inspect:
(a) Window and door screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal or protective accessories and devices;
(b) Fences;
© Recreational facilities;
(d) Outbuildings, with the exception of garages and carports;
(e) Swimming pools, seawalls, break-walls, boat lifts and/or docks.
(4) The inspector is not required to move furniture, appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, stored items, wall decorations, floor covering, clothing or any items that block the view and access to components or structures.
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Define… e

Robert,
Which version is that you quoted please. I know they were going back and forth on this and several other items and I’ll confess I haven’t been paying attention for a while.

Latest version…amended 07-31-2014

61-30.810 Standards of Practice, Exterior Components.
(1) Exterior systems and components include the following:
(a) Exterior wall cladding/siding, flashing and trim;
(b) All exterior doors;
© Attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings;
(d) Eaves, soffits and fascias where accessible from the ground level;
(e) Walkways, patios, and driveways leading to the dwelling entrances.
(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible exterior systems and components.
(3) The inspector is not required to inspect:
(a) Window and door screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal or protective accessories and devices;
(b) Fences;
© Recreational facilities;
(d) Outbuildings;
(e) Swimming pools, seawalls, break-walls, boat lifts and/or docks.
(4) The inspector is not required to move furniture, appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, stored items, wall decorations, floor covering, clothing or any items that block the view and access to components or structures.
Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. History*‒New 10-22-13, Amended 7-31-14.*

But then again, what is the standard of care in your area. Down here most, if not all, inspectors inspect swimming pools. Some think it’s extra money and don’t inspect much. Others become educated and know how to inspect a pool properly.

I had one last week , the seller was a pool contractor , i found numerous electrical issues. Will be inspecting a commercial pool this week, but an electrical engineer will do the electric. Accidents like these are a good reminder why we do this. So sorry for the parents.

As an interesting side note, two sections were changed in the SoP’s on 7-31-2014. Interestingly enough, the wording is specific when it comes to exclusions…read on.

**61-30.807 Standards of Practice, Interior Components. **[size=1]
*Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. History‒New 10-22-13. *
[size=2] (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible interior components. When inspecting doors and windows, the inspector may inspect a representative number of doors and windows. The inspector shall inspect household appliances for normal operation – using normal operating controls to activate a primary function. Inspectors will not operate systems or appliances with owners’ belongings, or if there is a risk to the property being inspected. Inspectors will first review the system to be operated and use professional judgment as to whether it is safe to operate using normal operating controls and report accordingly.

This was changed to this: 07-31-2014
[size=2][FONT=Times New Roman][size=2] (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible interior components that have not been excluded in the scope of services disclosure. When inspecting doors and windows, the inspector may inspect a representative number of doors and windows. The inspector shall inspect household appliances to determine whether the appliances are significantly deficient using normal operating controls. Inspectors will not operate systems or appliances if they have been excluded in the scope of services disclosure or if there is a risk to the property being inspected. Inspectors will first review the system to be operated and use professional judgment as to whether it is safe to operate using normal operating controls and report accordingly.

Wonder why they would put the exclusion clause in the standards…what inspection would a home inspector perform where appliances might not be required?

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