South Florida boy’s
Atlantis drowning death to be tried in United States, not Bahamas
Dec. 14, 2001 MIAMI, Fl. - A Miami federal judge has ruled that the
tragic August 2000 drowning death of 12-year-old Chad Humphreys of Kendall
(a Miami suburb) should be tried in federal court in Florida rather than in
the Bahamas. The youth drowned when he was sucked into a swimming pool drain
in the Paradise Lagoon at the Atlantis Resorts near Nassau.
U.S. District Judge Paul Huck this week rejected motions by the defense
to keep the suit in the Bahamas. Sun Trust Bank, Miami, as Personal
Representative of the Estate of Chad Humphreys, v. Sun International Hotels
Ltd., and Sun International Bahamas, Ltd., United States District Court,
Southern District of Miami, Miami Div., Case No. 00-3741, U.S. District
Judge Paul Huck)
The Humphreys family is represented by partners Robert L. Parks, Wm.
Andrew "Andy" Haggard, and Jeannete Lewis Bologna of the Coral Gables law
firm of Haggard, Parks, Haggard & Bologna, P.A.
Chad was snorkeling with his 10-year-old brother Blake in the Paradise
Lagoon on the morning of Aug. 8 when he was sucked headfirst into a 14-inch
pipe. He died a violent death with his right ear torn from his head, a
fractured rib, a collapsed lung, gashes from his head to his legs, and other
"The force was so great that the entirety of Chad Humphrey's
5-foot-1-inch body, save for his feet and dive fins, was sucked into a
14-inch pipe," the suit said. It also alleged that others had removed most
of the grate protecting swimmers from the drainpipe, and that defendants
The defense had strongly argued the case properly belonged in The
Bahamas, and argued that Chad's mother, Sharon Humphreys, signed a waiver on
the guest registration form waiving liability for the owners should injury
occur - a common procedure when tourists visit resorts or board cruises.
In his order, Judge Huck also said that the defendants - Sun
International Hotels, Ltd., and Sun International Bahamas. Ltd. - are
Bahamian holding companies that do significant business in South Florida.
Sun Hotels is the overall holding company, and Sun Bahamas is a whoIly-owned
subsidiary that provides administrative, financial, marketing and
reservations services for the resort.