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March, 2023

Mary Jones’ youngest son died a hero. While standing in chest deep water and 8 feet directly in front of one of 2 posted lifeguards for 40,000 square feet of water, Michael Jones slipped in a muddy bottom drop off and struggled. After critical moments passed without any action by the city lifeguard, Michael’s 16-year-old younger brother, Eric, grabbed for him, despite being unable to swim. Both boys slipped and spent over a minute struggling for their lives while the lifeguard averted his head toward a diving area of the lake. Michael was pushed and found his footing, but Eric slowly went under the water. Despite immediate yells for help to the lifeguard, the full emergency action plan was not started until anywhere from 15-30 minutes later. Eric was found exactly where his brother initially told the lifeguard. The lifeguard employees testified that had they followed their own training, Eric would be alive.

Two juries and 2 trial judges and 1 appellate court returned and upheld verdicts finding the city was reckless in failing to train their guards and ignoring 30 years of industry knowledge in lifeguard safety.

The City of Springfield doubled down and hired outside counsel, spending over $140,000 in attorney fees, $25,000 in expert fees and incurring over $84,000.00 in interest on a $750,000 verdict in their bid to overrule two Sangamon County juries who concluded they were reckless. The City even turned down an offer to settle for $500,000 at one point.

The City has agreed to pay over $842,000.00 after losing their argument that the jury got it wrong and they should have complete immunity.

Todd Bresney, the Estates’ attorney said, “we are long passed the days where Kings, politicians and governments can do no wrong. They are just as accountable as you and me and should be when they mismanage our tax dollars to the detriment of our community safety. Mary and Michael are proof City Hall can lose.”

Issued by Kanoski Bresney. Contact Todd Bresney at 309-250-5771.

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