How did Nabila Maazouz die? Family of tragic teen files $70 million lawsuit

Nabila Maazouz's parents allege the ThermaGard pool covers were 'defective and unreasonably dangerous,' allowing her to become trapped underneath


                            How did Nabila Maazouz die? Family of tragic teen files $70 million lawsuit
Nabila Maazouz's parents are suing several entities over her wrongful death (Nabila Maazouz Memorial Fund)

HILLSBORO, OREGON: The parents of an Oregon teen who drowned in a pool are suing a number of entities for negligence leading to wrongful death, two years after the tragic incident. on November 20, 2019, 14-year-old Nabila Maazouz died after she was trapped under the pool cover at Hillsboro’s Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center in Hillsboro. Reportedly, the teen and her teammates put the cover over the pool, but the other students left without realizing Maazouz was still inside.

As per reports, Maazouz took a piece of cover for the end of the pool, then swam back underneath it to fetch another piece to place on top. It was after the second piece had been placed that the freshman at Oregon Episcopal School and member of the Liberty High School swim team got into difficulty, but neither her teammates nor coach noticed that she was missing.

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Nabila Maazouz (Family handout)

Her mother was waiting in her car outside the sports center for the practice to finish and only raised the alarm after seeing the other team members and coach come out. Maazouz was found dead in the deep end of the darkened pool, 25 minutes after the meeting had ended. Lifeguards and emergency responders tried to save her, but they were unsuccessful.

Maazouz's parents — Patricia and Mostafa — reportedly filed a suit on October 5 in the Multnomah County Circuit Court, Oregon. The $70 million wrongful death lawsuit reportedly names the city of Hillsboro, the Hillsboro School District and Universal Filtration Inc., the manufacturer of the cover and Portland pool goods seller and the Pool and Spa House as defendants and argues that Maazoz’s death was the direct result of their collective negligence.

The lawsuit, per The Oregonian, alleges the ThermaGard pool covers were “defective and unreasonably dangerous,” allowing Maazouz to become trapped underneath. The covers also violated industry standards for safety and fell short of pool cover labeling requirements, the lawsuit said. ThermaGard’s manufacturer is Universal Filtration Inc.

The Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center (Facebook)

The lawsuit also cites the Hillsboro School District, city of Hillsboro, and the city’s parks and recreation department for allowing the use of the pool cover, not having lifeguards on duty, not training employees on how to safely cover the pool, and not noticing that Maazouz did not resurface with the other team members, among other allegations.

“Our hearts remain with the Maazouz family and everyone in our community who has been devastated by the tragic death of Nabila,” city spokesperson Patrick Preston said in a statement. “The City of Hillsboro is committed to caring for the safety and well-being of all community members at all City facilities.”

Hillsboro School District spokesperson Beth Graser said Maazouz’s “death was a tragedy that we are all still grieving.” She added, “Our hearts and thoughts continue to go out to her family and all who knew her.” Reportedly, days after Maazouz’s death, Hillsboro School District and city officials said that they had discussed procedural changes for swim practices at the pool. The changes included facility staff covering the pools after swim practices for the remainder of the season as well as providing a lifeguard or designating a coach with lifeguard certification as a lifeguard for every practice.

Speaking to reporters, Patricia said: “The thing that makes it so bad is that Nabila’s death was preventable. We hope this lawsuit will make changes in the aquatic industry to prevent further tragedy from happening. We continue living every parent’s worst nightmare.” She also said, “Those responsible, need to be held accountable.”

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