A mother whose 20-month-old daughter drowned in a neighborâ€™ above-ground swimming pool canâ€™t sue a township official who approved the placement of the poolâ€™s access gate system, a Commonwealth Court panel has decided.
The bottom line is that Jeff Richardson, Coolspring Townshipâ€™s building codes inspector, is immune from Anna Oakesâ€™ complaint because heâ€™s a government employee, Judge Michael H. Wojcik concluded in the state courtâ€™s opinion.
The case centers on what happened in the Mercer County community on April 20, 2016. Oakesâ€™ daughter, Pheylan Marie Cline, got through two gates that were supposed to prevent easy access to the pool, fell in and drowned.
Oakes claimed in her lawsuit that Richardson was negligent in allowing the pool owner to install two security gates that both opened toward the pool. She insisted the gate setup violated state building codes.
â€œOakesâ€™ theory of liability is that the improper gate configuration allowed Decedent access to the neighborâ€™s swimming pool, which led to her tragic death,â€ Wojcik wrote in upholding a county judgeâ€™s dismissal of the case.
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