Niles poolside poisoning victim's family hires attorney, hotel reopens
It's been eight days since a carbon monoxide leak at a Niles Quality Inn and Suites, sent 15 people to the hospital, and killed 13-year-old Bryan Douglas Watts.
The families are now standing together, and have hired an attorney to find out what happened to their son, why it happened, and to make sure this tragedy never happens again.
"My clients hired me to assist them in investigating what is a highly preventable and predictable accident. And that is, their son was killed when the pool heater malfunctioned," says Ven Johnson, the new attorney hired by the Watts family and several other survivors' families.
The Watts family is grieving. They are trying to do whatever they can to get to the bottom of their son's death. A death that Johnson says, could have been prevented.
"This is something the hotel could have easily prevented, and it cost a family their 13-year-old son, which is no price that any family should have to pay," adds Johnson.
Michigan law requires buildings built after Dec. 1, 2009 to have carbon monoxide detectors. Records show that the Niles' Quality Inn and Suites was built before then.
Johnson says, that doesn't matter.
"Under Michigan law, you also have to be reasonable, and you have to be prudent," he explains. "You have to go above and beyond, and you have to do everything you can to make sure accidents like this don't happen."
He hopes that this upcoming lawsuit will help prevent other families from the same tragedy that changed the Watts' family live, forever.
"I think this is a call for action. We need to bring this to everyone's attention," Johnson adds. "This is exactly what should be happening in any commercial pool."
Johnson did not know whether or not the hotel has hired an attorney yet. The hotel reopened for business Saturday, indicating that the necessary repairs were made.
He also told ABC57 News that the Watts' family is grateful for the outpouring of support and prayers they've been receiving from the community.