Judge rules against family of 9-year-old who sued MN city over second death caused by lake's brain-eating amoeba
STILLWATER, Minn.--Attorneys for the father of a young boy who died of a rare brain disease after swimming in Lily Lake in Stillwater in 2012 said this week they will appeal a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit against the city.
STILLWATER, Minn.-Attorneys for the father of a young boy who died of a rare brain disease after swimming in Lily Lake in Stillwater in 2012 said this week they will appeal a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit against the city.
Washington County District Judge Susan Miles made the ruling in March, in the case brought by Jim Ariola, the father of Jack Ariola Erenberg, 9. Jack died Aug. 6, 2012, of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a central nervous system disease caused by infection from the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri.
His death came two years after Annie Bahneman, 7, of Stillwater died of the same disease after swimming in the same lake.
The parasite, commonly found in warm freshwater and soil, enters swimmers through their noses and causes a severe brain infection. It can be found in waters worldwide.
Ariola sued Stillwater, saying city officials were liable for the boy's death because they knew about the presence of a deadly parasite in the lake but did nothing to warn swimmers.
But Miles, in her written order, said Ariola "had not provided even a scintilla of direct evidence that the (city) had knowledge of the presence or risk of presence of Naegleria fowleri in Lily Lake."
One of Ariola's attorney, Roger Strassburg, said Thursday, April 28, that Miles "made a mistake" in issuing her order.
"We're hopeful that the Court of Appeals will reverse it," he said. "We think this is a question for a jury - as to what the city knew and when they knew it."
He said Ariola's local attorney, John Neve, plans to file an appeal in the next few days; Neve did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
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