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Parents Sue Over Boy's Drowning

Courts: Child's body was found in murky water of pool two days after party.

June 21, 2002|ANTHONY McCARTNEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The parents of a young boy who drowned in a mansion pool earlier this month sued the homeowner Wednesday, alleging that poor maintenance and negligence caused their son's death.

Paolo Ayala drowned June 2 while attending a classmate's pool party on Los Angeles' Westside. An intensive two-day search by police and neighbors failed to find the 7-year-old, whose body was in the deep end of the pool, where police believe murky water hid the body.

Franklin and Eduina Ayala are seeking punitive and special damages, including compensation for emotional distress and loss of future income, as well as reimbursement of funeral and burial fees.

The suit alleges that Saeed and Kimberly Farkhondehpour were negligent about the upkeep of the pool, resulting in increased emotional distress for the boy's family while the body was missing. The suit also charges that the owners failed to properly supervise Paolo, who did not know how to swim.

Attorney Jack Zakariaie, who represents the Farkhondehpour family, said the filing of the suit was unfortunate but not unexpected. He said the Ayalas initially told his clients they were not responsible for the boy's death.

Larry Feldman, who represents the Ayalas, said the Farkhondehpours were responsible for monitoring Paolo.

Zakariaie disagreed. "This kid had no place being at a pool party when he didn't know how to swim," the attorney said. He added: "I'm not sure if the water wasn't murky, it would have made a difference in this case." Zakariaie said there was adequate supervision at the party--one adult per child--and that the pool was serviced by a pool man every Monday.

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