City settles suit with family of drowning victim

August 6, 2008 11:54:36 AM PDT
Houston city council members have decided to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a 13-year-old boy who drowned in a storm drain more than four years ago in northeast Houston.The victim, Logan Jones, died in June of 2004 when he was playing in a drainage ditch near Cimarron Elementary School. He was sucked into a pipe and didn't survive. The family questioned whether there should have been a grate over the opening of that drain and sued the city.

There was testimony, according to the city, that there was a grate placed over the pipe a year and half before Jones' death, but it had been removed by vandals. Today, the city council voted on it and agreed to a settlement of $245,000.

"There is an issue here as to whether the city was properly put on notice that a grate had been taken off, you know, legal issues. Rather than go through the costs and expense of a trial and the possibility that more could have been awarded if it had gone the way way for this family, I think the city is making a good decision spending this money to put this to rest," said City Attorney Arturo Michel.

"There is nothing that replaces vigilance, but it's helpful to talk ahead of time about what you are going do because this is a hazard every time it rains. And so we don't want to ever, ever have to do this again," said Houston city Councilmember Melissa Noriega.

After this incident, the city is checking around elementary schools and putting two bars over drainage pipes that were close in proximity to schools to avoid another incident like this one.

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