Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of 10 year-old Boy who Drowned in Calumet Park Pool

Witnesses Say Boy May Have Been Underwater For Five Minutes Before Lifeguards Noticed
January 31, 2017

The Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio filed a wrongful death lawsuit today in Cook County Circuit Court against the Calumet Park Park District in last week's drowning death of Christopher Divinity, age 10, at a public pool.

Attorney Philip Harnett Corboy, Jr. filed the two-count lawsuit, alleging willful and wanton conduct by the District in not providing adequate supervision of the pool. Press reports said witnesses at the pool stated the boy was under water for up to five minutes before the lifeguards recognized there was a problem.

The suit specifically allege that the District failed to provide the proper number of lifeguards on duty and failed to have lifeguards in the pool area who would not be distracted from their observation of the pool.

Divinity had gone to the Calumet Park Public Pool with an adult friend of the family at approximately 12:30 p.m. on June 26, 1999. He was swimming with two friends and using another child's kickboard when a girl, presumably the owner of the board, asked for it back. Shortly thereafter, the friends noticed that Christopher was missing. Divinity was found at the bottom of the pool and rushed to St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island where he was pronounced dead.

Drownings at public pools have recently drawn widespread public attention and questions of liability have been debated in the state legislature and the Illinois Appellate Court. In May, a jury found the Chicago Park District liable in a 1993 drowning death and Mr. Corboy also represents the family of a Prospect Heights boy who drowned in 1996.

Though municipalities are often protected from liability by the Governmental Tort Immunity Act, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation last year allowing families to sue municipalities if the governmental body's conduct is "willful and wanton".

Divinity was in the fourth grade at the Burr Oak Elementary School in Calumet Park and a pitcher for his youth baseball team, the Phillies. He is survived by his mother, father and sister.