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Massachusetts Campground Sued for Negligence, Wrongful Death Over 2017 Drowning Incident

— November 3, 2020

The mother of a 4-year-old boy who drowned at a campground pool recently sued Resort Camp Lands International and Cape Cod Camping Club for negligence and wrongful death.

Resort Camp Lands International and Cape Cod Camping Club were recently hit with a suit accusing them of “negligence, wrongful death, conscious pain and suffering and wrongful death with willful, wanton or reckless and/or gross negligence.” The suit was filed by Maria Ribeiro, the mother of a 40year-old boy who drowned back in 2017 at the Cape Cod Camp Resort and Cabins in East Falmouth. She is seeking $7.5 million in damages and is represented by attorneys George Miller and Justin Miller. The lawsuit was filed in Plymouth Superior Court and is seeking a jury trial.

Image of a drowning warning sign
Drowning warning sign; image courtesy of
OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay,

When discussing the defendants, the complaint states:

“They should have known that there existed a potentially dangerous condition within the confines of the swimming pool which might cause injury or death to children.”

The fatal incident occurred on August 26, 2017. The child, James Ribeiro-Almeida was at the campground with his grandmother, also named Maria Ribeiro. Shortly after the grandmother took James and his 8-year-old sister to the campground’s pool, he was “found at the bottom in approximately four feet of water.” Rescue personnel “were called to the scene at 12:59 p.m. and told that James was unresponsive in a pool.” While waiting for help to arrive, bystanders rushed to pull the child from the pool and began administering CPR. Firefighters soon arrived and “took over rescue efforts and brought him to Falmouth Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.” According to the complaint, “there was no camp personnel monitoring the pool or supervising the children…No lifeguards were on duty at the time of the drowning, and there were no security cameras in operation at the pool area.”

Additionally, the “campground’s rules permitted children to use the pool without adult supervision, merely stating children ‘should’ be supervised,” according to the lawsuit. The complaint also alleges the “pool rules were displayed only in English, despite the defendants’ knowledge that many of their campers could not speak or read English.” The complaint further argues:

“The campground did not have proper life-saving and resuscitation equipment on site, and as a result staff was unable to administer life-saving measures on the boy…campground staff failed to perform CPR or take any life-saving measures on the boy, relying on campers to attempt to save the decedent’s life.”

Since the incident, the campground has implemented more strict pool rules. Cape Cod Camp Resort and Cabins owner Anthony Newman also noted that at the time of the incident, “one adult was overseeing about nine children. The adult was 69-years-old and did not know how to swim.” A year later, the campground began requiring a responsible adult to supervise “no more than five children at the pool.” He added, “We had no idea one person was in there with nine or 10 children on that day…If we had known, we would have gone right there.”


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