The Georgia Supreme Court says the wrongful death claim brought by the mother of the boy who drowned on a school trip cannot go ahead.
The Cobb County student, 14-year-old Tomari Jackson, drowned on February 13, 2016 while on a North Cobb High School field trip in Belize.
The incident occurred in the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary’s Sibun River.
The court said Adell Forbes’ lawsuit was not brought within one year as set out in Belize’s laws.
Forbes’ filed the civil lawsuit against the Cobb County government, nine school chaperones, the Cobb County School District, and the sanctuary on March 24, 2017 in Cobb County State Court.
The suit claims that the defendants didn’t do enough to prevent Jackson’s death or keep an eye on the students who were not wearing life vests.
Forbes decided not to continue with the lawsuit against the county government. Meanwhile the trial court tossed out the case against the school district and chaperones on the grounds of sovereign and official immunity.
The court also dismissed the complaint against the sanctuary, stating that Belize has a one-year statute of limitation in cases like this one.
Forbes appealed the trial court’s ruling on the wrongful death claims and the Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s decision, citing Georgia’s two-year time limit.
However, the Supreme Court reversed the appellate court’s ruling based on precedent indicating that any civil action must follow the laws of the jurisdiction in which the alleged wrongdoing occurred.
It’s possible that one part of the case could continue. The Supreme Court was not asked to assess the ruling of the Court of Appeals that Forbes’ personal injury claims could move ahead. These claims were filed within Georgia’s two-year time limit.
If you believe your loved one died wrongfully, you may be able to get compensation with help from a Georgia wrongful death attorney.