AP NEWS

Court: Property owners not liable in child’s drowning death

September 6, 2019

WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled in a split decision that the adjacent property owners of a Waterbury daycare are not liable in a 3-year-old’s drowning death.

Parker Berry was attending Elephant in the Field daycare when he wandered into a brook near the facility in February of 2016. Police said when Parker’s family arrived at the daycare to pick up the boy, staff noticed he was missing and found him in the brook.

The Supreme Court on Friday reversed a lower court decision and ruled that the adjacent landowners, where the brook is located, are not liable under the recreational use statute.

Chief Justice Paul Reiber and Beth Robinson dissented, saying the property was “developed for commercial recreational uses” and therefore the property owners are not protected from liability.