The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 3, 2008

Lawsuit reveals brother witnessed his sister, 7, drown

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer

A lawsuit filed in Garfield County District Court alleges there was a second victim in an Enid water park accident that resulted in the death of a 7-year-old girl: her 8-year-old brother.

The suit, filed Wed-nesday, says Tanyjah Ker-rion Hall’s brother, Braylen Franklin, suffered “profound mental anguish and damage from actually viewing the injury to his little sister.”

The negligence lawsuit seeks in excess of $10,000 from Splash Zone in the death of Hall and the emotional distress caused to Franklin. The suit was filed by the girl’s mother, Carmalita Franklin, and grandmother, Eva Frank-lin.

Hall had been pulled from less than 4 feet of water in a pool at Splash Zone, 1122 Trails Loop West, May 29 by a patron who was at the park with his children and saw the girl under water. Hall was taken to an area hospital before being transported to a hospital in Tulsa. She was pronounced dead early the next morning. The park reopened the following day.

According to a petition filed in the suit, the water park assumed the duty to care for the girl’s safety when she paid admission to the park. The petition claims the park was negligent in Hall’s drowning because it failed to “... properly supervise the swimming” of Hall and “to rescue her from drowning.”

The petition claims the water park failed to inquire if Hall was a swimmer or non-swimmer at the time of her admission, failed to use identifiers, such as bright colored bracelets to differentiate non-swimming patrons from swimming patrons and failed to separate swimmer from non-swimmers.

The petition also claims the park did not protect Hall from her own swimming deficiencies, forced her out of a children’s wading pool and into a general swimming area even though she protested to the lifeguard and said she could not swim.

The suit also claims the park failed to prevent “overloading” that inhibited lifeguards’ abilities and claims “gross failures in preventative supervision.”

The suit addresses issues of “poorly trained” lifeguards, code violations, water clarity issues and negligent rescue efforts.

The suit is seeking damages for medical expenses during treatment of Hall prior to her death, funeral and burial ex-penses and Hall’s pain and suffering and mental anguish prior to her death. The suit also seeks damages for emotional distress to Hall’s brother and consequential damages. The suit does not list any specific amount of damages sought.

David Collins, attorney for Splash Zone owners Greg and Kristie Jensen, said Thursday he did not have a comment about the case.

Steven Singer, attorney for Carmelita and Eva Franklin, could not be reached Thursday for comment. The family previously has referred questions to Singer.

District Judge Ronald Franklin was assigned to the case, online records show.