Posts Tagged ‘pools’

Australia: satellite data to spy out pool-safety scofflaws

Authorities in Queensland, Australia, intend to use spy-satellite photos to catch homeowners not in compliance with strict new safety rules on swimming pools, which include the mandatory clearing of trees near pool fences so that determined children cannot climb their way over. [Courier-Mail] More: Popehat.

In the United States, incidentally, there are some indications that a crackdown may be underway to enforce the new federal pool safety act passed last year and administered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission [Aquatics International, earlier] And (via AI) Billings, Montana is pulling the plug on a big public pool project, since “the city wasn’t willing to accept the financial risk and legal liability of owning a large aquatic center”. [Billings Gazette]

“Liability concerns and high water bills”

They’re why the Weymouth, Mass. housing authority is banning residents from using inflatable kiddie pools at municipal housing. The state housing department sent a memo to town authorities five years ago recommending a ban on pools as well as trampolines and swing sets: “Housing authorities routinely get sued for incidents even when a tenant is the responsible party,” it said. (Jack Encarnacao, “Weymouth bans kiddie pools at public housing”, Quincy Patriot-Ledger, Jun. 7).

The Pop Tort: John Edwards and the Valerie Lakey case

For all the complaints about tort reformers supposedly relying upon urban legends to promote their cause, one more frequently sees trial lawyers promoting fictional versions of their victories. As Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama kowtow to John Edwards for his endorsement, it’s worth exploring the case on his record he refers to most frequently. Remarkably, not a single mainstream media organization has questioned Edwards’s self-serving version of the Valerie Lakey case. I correct this problem in today’s American:

Sta-Rite had already been putting warnings on its pool drain covers, and the 1993 case did nothing to change their product design or the warnings conveyed to buyers. The drain cover in the Lakey case was sold in February 1987 with a warning label; soon thereafter Sta-Rite began embossing the warnings on the cover. This safety innovation was used against them at trial, the argument being that they should have acted earlier. But no one could reasonably think that an additional warning to screw in the drain cover would have made an iota of difference. The cover already had holes for screws, county regulations already required the pool drain cover to be screwed down, the pool managers testified that they had done so several times in the year before Lakey’s accident—and Edwards had already recovered millions from the municipality for its failure to keep the cover screwed down.