South Carolina – A lawsuit about a 2020 Memorial Day weekend incident that left a minor boy from North Carolina with serious injuries after using a hotel pool with extremely high levels of chlorine is coming to an end after the firm that owns the hotel decided to pay more than $20 million to settle the case. According to the law firm that represents the parents of the victim, the federal lawsuit is now officially over.
In 2020, the 3-year-old Ashtyn Douglas suffered severe injuries caused by chemicals, more specifically chlorine, after he used the pool in a luxury South Carolina hotel. The lawsuit claimed that the chlorine levels in the pool were not just dangerous but also illegal. The parents allowed their son to use the pool since the hotel was nice and everything looked safe. But they were wrong.
The first symptoms appeared shortly after the family left Myrtle Beach’s Caribbean Resort, a hotel operated by Brittain Resorts. What should have been a nice gateway weekend for the family turned into a nightmare because the boy’s condition was worsening in the hours to come. The boy’s parents finally took him to see a doctor in the morning the next day.
The little North Carolina boy spent several days in hospital for treatment
“As a 3-year-old, you don’t understand why it is that you’re in pain, why it is that you’re hurt,” attorney Nicholas Rowley said. “He was admitted to the hospital for a week where they treated his burns and then had to debride him.” Debridement is defined as the removal of dead tissue from wounds. Later, Ashtyn was taken to the University of North Carolina Burn Center and received care there for a week, his lawyers explained.
After suspecting the burns were caused by too much chemicals in the hotel’s swimming pool, Ashtyn’s family reached out to DHEC. Following tests, DHEC found the chlorine levels in the pool were too high and closed it. The lawsuit claims that the records of chlorine levels given to the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control were not true for several years.
Rowley mentioned that the hotel’s records indicated the chlorine levels were safe on the days Ashtyn was in the pool. However, an investigation found out that a hotel employee, who was supposed to manage the pool, falsified these records, including on the day Ashtyn got his burns.
The company to pay $26 million for the federal lawsuit settlement
The company that owns the hotel agreed to pay a total of $26 million to settle the federal lawsuit with the family regarding the incident. Although both the parents and the little boy went through tough times in the period following their weekend gateway, their attorney agrees that the amount will fully compensate for the damages caused by the incident.
According to Rowley, he believes that this lawsuit will serve as a reminder to businesses and corporations across the country to never disregard safety measures. Such mistakes can have long-lasting consequences for both children and adult hotel guests that, in some cases, might be fatal.
Rowley said the jury trial would have been sometime in late spring or summer if the resort hadn’t agreed to pay.
“The one thing that this family has not heard is ‘I’m sorry,’” he said. “The reason why this family brought this case is to make sure this didn’t happen to anybody else, especially another child.”