Last Fall, a three-year old boy fell victim to a rare, brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria Fowleri at a public splash pad in Arlington.
With the help of The Stewart Law Firm, the family of the young boy whose life was taken filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
On March 31, 2022, The Stewart Law Firm announced that the family and the City of Arlington reached a settlement after extensive litigation.
What happened at the Arlington splash pad?
Bakari Williams was a sweet, energetic three year-old boy enjoying the summer with his family in Arlington, Texas. A few days after visiting a city splash pad, however, Bakari began to feel feverish.
A few days later, on September 11, 2021, Bakari passed away at a Texas hospital.
Bakari’s parents, who lost another child to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) a few years earlier, were absolutely destroyed. The hospital detected signs of the Naegleria fowleri infection and, from there, water samples sent to the Center for Disease Control confirmed the splash pad was the source of the infection.
The city of Arlington admitted that the splash pads had maintenance issues and that employees did not always record or conduct the required daily water quality testing at a few locations.
Bakari’s parents, Kayla Mitchell and Tariq Williams, filed a lawsuit against the city of Arlington for wrongful death with the help of Stephen Stewart and Brian Hargrove. Their goal was to achieve justice for Bakari and ensure this type of tragedy does not happen to other children and their families in the future.
What is included in the Arlington splash pad settlement?
Like most personal injury settlements, Texas law provides for a monetary cap of $250,000 award.
However, in addition to the monetary damages for the grieving family, the City of Arlington will also implement a new idea recommended by The Stewart Law Firm: on-site QR code technology at local splash pads that allows parents to get the latest water-quality testing results.
“The family believed, and I agree, that preventing such future tragedies and any parent the grief they have suffered was more important than a monetary award,” said Stewart. “My law firm came up with and proposed the QR-code scanning option and we hope it will become the national standard in splash pads, water parks and other public water facilities across the country.”
According to the settlement, the technology should be operational before the Summer 2022 swimming season.
Additionally, the City of Arlington is charged to share their “lessons learned” and the new technology protocols at conferences around the country with the hopes that other public swimming facilities will follow suit.
“These parents acted selflessly in agreeing to accept this technology solution versus a financial award,” said Stewart. “We can all thank them for their courage and commitment to helping other parents, not just in Arlington but around the country, avoid the kind of loss and heartbreak they have endured.”
Contact The Stewart Law Firm today
Losing a child is a tragedy in any circumstance, but it’s particularly heartbreaking when someone is at fault for this horrible loss. If you’ve lost someone and are looking to file a wrongful death suit, we have a compassionate and experienced team at The Stewart Law Firm that is ready to help.
Contact us today to speak with one of our legal professionals during a complimentary consultation.