On Jan. 13, 2014, 10-year-old D’Angelo “DJ” Jayvon McMullen fell through a thin layer of ice into a Gaithersburg, Maryland pond. McMullen was playing with his brother and a friend before all three broke through the ice and fell into the murky water. DJ’s brother was saved by rescuers within five minutes, according to news reports, but it took 30 minutes to find DJ while he was submerged underwater. Tragically, D’Angelo McMullen did not survive.
D’Angelo’s parents have now taken steps to hold several real estate and development companies legally responsible for DJ’s death by filing a drowning lawsuit. According to the complaint, the pond in which DJ drowned was supposed to be surrounded by a safety fence and that the city of Gaithersburg had ordered a fence be built during construction. The McMullen family is not represented by The Cochran Firm.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants did not comply with city code and failed to install and maintain a safety fence for the pond. It also alleges that when the fence around the pond was taken down, the defendants did not reinstall it within the proper period of time.
At The Cochran Firm, D.C., our experienced attorneys have represented many families of drowning victims and have a deep understanding of the unique aspects of drowning cases. Sadly, when someone drowns in a pool or other body of water, there are often issues of negligence and carelessness that lead to the drowning. Although we are unable to comment on the merits of this case at this early stage of the litigation, we can unequivocally affirm that the civil justice system provides families of drowning victims with a powerful tool to investigate the circumstances of the incident and to hold negligent property owners and pool operators accountable, where appropriate.