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posted: 8/31/2012 4:34 PM

Geneva seeks to dismiss lawsuit over 2011 dam drowning

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  • The family of a man who drowned in August 2011 while saving a child from drowning has sued the city of Geneva for wrongful death, arguing the city has not done enough to restrict access from the dam on the Fox River.

       The family of a man who drowned in August 2011 while saving a child from drowning has sued the city of Geneva for wrongful death, arguing the city has not done enough to restrict access from the dam on the Fox River.
    Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer

  • Randy Suchy

      Randy Suchy

 
 

A judge will decide next week whether to dismiss a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by relatives of Randy Suchy, a Naperville man who drowned in August 2011 trying to save a boy who fell in the water near the Geneva dam along the Fox River.

Suchy, 59, died on Aug. 5, 2011, while saving a 12-year-old who slipped and fell into the water during a church outing.

The Bolingbrook boy was rescued, but Suchy was caught in the boil for several minutes despite rescuers' efforts to save him.

A lawsuit filed earlier this year argues that the city knew about the dangers posed by the lowhead dam but did not do enough to restrict access to that area.

But attorneys argue the city of Geneva and other entities are protected under the Illinois Tort Liability Act, which states that a local public entity or public employee cannot be held liable for an injury occurring near a waterway or river not owned, managed or controlled by the local public entity.

"Here, even when accepted all well-pleaded facts in the plaintiff's complaint as true, plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed," argued William Kurnik, attorney for the city of Geneva.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County and the Geneva Park District also have been named as defendants in the lawsuit, which demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages, according to court records.

"People should be nowhere near that dam. They're lethal. Geneva knows this," said attorney David Wise when the lawsuit was filed in May.

"They're going to keep having accidents like this. If you allow people to get close like that, people are going to keep getting killed."

Kane County Judge James Murphy will consider the matter Thursday.

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