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Family of 6-year-old who drowned in New London beach files intent to sue

By Kathleen Edgecomb

Publication: theday.com

Published October 08. 2013 4:00PM   Updated October 09. 2013 2:39PM

New London — Lawyers representing the estate of a 6-year-old boy who drowned July 4 at a municipal beach on Pequot Avenue have filed an “intent to sue” against the city, naming four city lifeguards and employees.

Jason M. Burdick of the law firm Messier, Massad and Burdick of New London, filed the document Tuesday in City Hall on behalf of the estate of Anthony Bernoudy.

The one-page document names Leona Podeszwa, Rachel Smithson, Fiona Hook and Nora Greene as “the employees responsible for the drowning death of Anthony Bernoudy.” It also says supervisors, trainers and others responsible for park safety will be sued in their capacity as city employees.

The youngster, who was at Greens Harbor Beach with his family July 4, was last seen around 5:30 p.m. near the water. After an intensive search on land and water by his family, police, firefighters and boaters, an emergency diver found the boy in the water at about 11:10 p.m. a short distance from the beach. He was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, where he was pronounced dead. He would have been a first-grader at Jennings Elementary School.

At the time, City Recreation Director Tommie Major said park hours were 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The four lifeguards on duty on July 4 left for the day at 5 p.m., he said.

The Day also has a pending Freedom of Information request to the police department for the report of the police investigation.

Burdick and City Law Director Jeffrey Londregan could not be reached to comment Tuesday.

But at Monday’s City Council meeting, Londregan said in order to sue a municipality, an intent to sue must be filed within six months. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is two years, he said.


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