Civil Plaintiff

Vegas water park where boy nearly drowned offers $49M settlement

The family of a boy who nearly drowned in a wave pool at Cowabunga Bay and suffered lifelong injuries has reached a $49 million settlement with the Henderson, Nevada water park.

Leland Gardner, who was 6 when he was submerged “for a lengthy period of time” in May 2015, has already incurred more than $900,000 in medical bills, according to the agreement reached last week.

The civil lawsuit filed in Clark County District Court alleged that Cowabunga Bay did not have enough lifeguards on staff when Leland was underwater.

Attorneys in the case agreed that investigations through the past four years uncovered facts that showed liability against Henderson Water Park LLC for negligence, the settlement states. The water park’s parent company twice offered to settle the lawsuit for $5 million.

Attorney Donald Campbell, who represents the Gardners, said at the time the suit was filed that a lifeguard plan the park submitted in 2014 called for six lifeguards at Cowabunga Bay’s Surf-A-Rama Wave Pool. But the Southern Nevada Health District said the park needed at least 17 there.

Cowabunga Bay submitted a revised proposal that met the health district’s expectations, but inspection reports showed the park failed to maintain adequate lifeguard coverage at the wave pool on multiple occasions.

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