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Boy drowned from lack of supervision, argued pool owner






Lancaster County


Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

other-death; pulmonary/respiratory-asphyxia; pulmonary/respiratory-respiratory distress

Case Type:

Wrongful Death – Survival Damages; Premises Liability – Swimming Pool, Apartment Building, Dangerous Condition; Parental Liability – Negligent Supervision; Premises Liability – Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance

Case Name:

Korrien Marie Castro, on behalf of the Estate of Jahli Clemens, a minor, deceased v. CLK Mutlifamily Management LLC v. Korrien Marie Castro,
No. CI-14-05026


March 24, 2015



Korrien Marie Castro (Female), 

Estate of Jahli Clemens (Male, 2 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Gerald J. Pomerantz;
Gerald Pomerantz & Associates;
Korrien Marie Castro, Estate of Jahli Clemens ■ Norman Perlberger;
Perlberger Law Associates, P.C.;
Bala Cynwyd,
Korrien Marie Castro, Estate of Jahli Clemens

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Shawn DeRosa; Pools; State College,
PA called by:
Gerald J. Pomerantz, Norman Perlberger ■ Andrew Verzilli; M.B.A.; Economics; Lansdale,
PA called by:
Gerald J. Pomerantz, Norman Perlberger


Korrien Marie Castro, 

CLK Multifamily Management LLC

Defense Attorney(s):

Marc B. Zingarini;
Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby LLP;
Korrien Marie Castro, CLK Multifamily Management LLC

Defendant Expert(s):

Maria Bella;
PA called by:
Marc B. Zingarini


RLI Corp. for CLK Multifamily Management LLC


On July 11, 2010, Korrien Marie Castro and her two sons, one of whom was plaintiff’s decedent Jahli Clemens, 2, were visiting Castro’s cousin at her apartment complex at 1917 Oregon Pike, in Lancaster. At about 2 p.m., Castro, her sons, Castro’s cousin and her two sons, and an adult friend were at a gated pool at the apartment complex. At about 5:30 p.m., while still at the pool, Castro was speaking to the cousin when she noticed that Jahli was missing. Panicked, she ran outside the pool gate to her cousin’s apartment, and then to the parking lot to check if the child was at her car. She then returned to the pool, where she observed Jahli being pulled out the water. Jahli, having drowned, was pronounced dead later that day. Castro sued property-manager CLK Multifamily Management LLC on claims based on theories of premises liability. Castro’s expert in aquatics attributed the child’s drowning to a defective gate, an overcrowded pool, and lack of a lifeguard. According to the expert, the gate was defective because it did not self-close and did not self-latch, allowing a child to freely enter and exit the pool area. The expert stated that overcrowding probably caused Jahli to be knocked into the water, unnoticed. Although the municipal code did not require the presence of an on-duty lifeguard, the expert suggested that it was ideal, especially in overcrowded situations. The defense maintained that the purpose of the gate was to keep children out of the pool area, and that Castro’s expert’s theory of a defective gate was immaterial, since Jahli had already been inside the pool area. The defense’s expert in aquatics testified that every aspect of the pool met all municipal codes. According to the expert, based on eyewitness testimony, which, at most, put the number of pool occupants at around 40, the pool capacity at the time of the drowning was at 25 percent. (The maximum capacity was 160.) Moreover, there was no need for a lifeguard, since it was not required by municipal codes, said the expert. The defense brought in Castro as a third-party defendant, faulting her for her son’s drowning. Had she been paying attention to her son’s whereabouts, she would have prevented his drowning, according to the defense. Further, the child did not know how to swim and was reportedly afraid of the water, yet he was not wearing a flotation device, asserted CLK’s counsel. (CLK withdrew its claim against Castro, prior to jury deliberations.)


Jahli, after being pulled from the pool, received CPR until emergency responders arrived at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Castro sought to recover approximately $740,000 to $1.4 million in future lost earnings, on behalf of her son. The damages were based on Castro and her husband’s vocations (a union pile worker and a construction worker, respectively), Jahli’s projected education level (high-school and college degrees), and productivity levels of zero and two percent. Castro further sought damages under the Wrongful Death and Survival Acts. (Castro also sought punitive damages, but her claim was struck by the court.)


The jury found that CLK Multifamily Management LLC was not negligent.

Trial Information:


James P. Cullen


$5 million

Trial Length:


Trial Deliberations:


Jury Composition:

3 male/ 9 female

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.