The family of a 5-year-old boy partially blinded by a stone thrown by a peer at a day camp has settled the case against Point O’Woods Association Day Camp for $2.32 million.
The case against the day camp in Old Lyme hinged on claims the boy was not properly supervised when the accident occurred in June 2013. Christian Amato, who was a camper, was in an area away from the day camp where other children were playing with rocks, according to a lawsuit filed in June 2015.
“They were throwing rocks in the water trying to skip the rocks,” said Robert Reardon Jr., the family’s attorney. “Then, they decided to throw stones and rocks against a big boulder. There was no supervision and that is when Christian was injured.”
One of the rocks ricocheted off the boulder and hit Christian in the eye, Reardon said.
Reardon, a partner with The Reardon Law Firm in New London, said the counselors were high school and college students. The counselors had their backs to the campers and were not properly watching the children, who were on private property owned by a separate association.
The case was settled in early December right before jury selection was slated to start, Reardon said Thursday.
The lawsuit was brought by Christian’s mother, Allison Amato.
“Allison had no reason to believe their child would be taken off the property and to a beach that was not owned by the association,” Reardon said. “They certainly had no reason to believe their 5-year-old would not have adults supervising them throughout the entire time at the day camp.”
Reardon said it’s not clear if camp director Gayle Stevens knew the counselors were leading the children off the camp’s premises.
“It is unclear what Stevens knew and did not know,” Reardon said. “She knew they had gone for a walk with the teen counselors, but she did not know where they were at the moment of the accident until after the accident had occurred.”
Christian, now 10, has had multiple surgeries on his left eye, Reardon said. The boy, who now lives in Texas, will require more surgeries and will always be sensitive to light, and have double vision and restricted depth perception.
“Christian essentially lives his life as if he is blind in his left eye,” Reardon said. “His left eye does not provide any real vision.”
Reardon said Allison Amato “has been dealing with this for five years and she is pleased she can bring some closure to this aspect of the case. She is also pleased that she and her son do not have to go through a trial and relive this tragedy.”
David Hill of David G. Hill & Associates in Glastonbury represented the camp. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Stevens could not be reached for comment.
The settlement was paid Tuesday by Chubb Insurance, the day camp’s insurance provider.