Image of a Swimming Pool
Swimming Pool; image courtesy of 12019 via Pixabay,

The Muskingum Recreation Center (MRC) was recently hit was a lawsuit by Caprise Dittmar over allegations of breach of contract. In addition to the recreation center, the suit also names Michael Steen and Rebecca Hardwick as defendants. According to the complaint, which was filed in the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas, Dittmar was a “paid member of the recreation center when the center canceled her membership over complaints made about the cleanliness of the pool.”

Prior to filing the suit and losing her membership, Dittmar reportedly used the center’s pool on a daily basis and was “vocal about concerns she and other members reportedly had regarding the pH levels and care of the pool.” She also alleged that “staff at the center failed to treat the pool with chemicals, failed to test the water properly and management often skewed the pH levels in the pool before youth swim meets.”

Image of the Muskingum County Courthouse
Muskingum County Courthouse; image courtesy of Leslie K. Dellovade via Wikimedia Commons,

As a result of the staff’s failure to properly treat the pool, the suit alleges that, on occasion, “patrons and employees of the MRC broke out in rashes after using the pool.”

However, when she voiced her concerns to members of the management team or board members, the problem persisted, prompting Dittmar to report the unsanitary conditions to the Muskingum County Health Department on October 20, 2017. It should be noted, however, that the pool “passed its Oct. 18, 2017 water quality inspection by the health department, as well as all other 2017 and 2018 inspections,” according to department records.

Shortly after voicing her concerns and reaching out to the health department, Steen approached Dittmar and “hand-delivered a letter to her canceling her membership, refunding her membership dues and banning her for the grounds, effective immediately.”

It’s also important to note that, despite Dittmar’s allegations of breach of contract, the Muskingum Recreation Center Membership Agreement, states that the “center reserves the right and privilege to close any portion or all of its facility and to terminate the contract.”

Dittmar’s suit is pushing back against the recreation center and her attorney, Edward Itayim said, “This isn’t about the water quality…This is about a breach of contract.” He added that he won’t have to “prove the veracity of the claims of unclean water, but rather that Dittmar respected the terms of the agreement and the recreation center did not.”

Dittmar and Itayim are currently in the process of scheduling a hearing. In the meantime, the Muskingum Recreation Center and Steen have not returned requests for comment.

The Muskingum Recreation Center (MRC) was founded back in 2009 with help from Ohio University, the Muskingum Family Y Center, the Muskingum County Community Foundation, and the Genesis HealthCare System.


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