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STOCK PIX Benton County Courthouse artwork (copy)

The parents of a boy who drowned at the Timberhill Athletic Club in June 2018 filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the club in Marion County Circuit Court Tuesday.

Court documents filed in the lawsuit said security footage of the drowning show that five-year-old Tomás Barreto Pizano rode a slide into the club’s pool and then struggled in the water for four minutes before collapsing.

He then reportedly floated motionless and face down in the pool for another eight minutes before he was noticed by other guests at the pool. Timberhill staff in the area, including those supervising the camp program Tomás was attending, reportedly failed to notice his duress that entire time.

The suit asks for $56.6 million damages in the death and names the Oregon Health Authority and Benton County Environmental Health as a co-defendants. Multiple Timberhill employees were also named as co-defendants.

The suit alleges Timberhill was originally licensed to operate the pool without lifeguards because it was only open to the club’s limited membership, but alleges the club eventually opened its outdoor pool, where Tomás drowned, to the public for a small fee without updating its licensing, which would have required it to hire lifeguards. It also alleges that in 2008 Timberhill replaced a slide on its outdoor pool with a slide that was large enough that Timberhill should have been required to employ lifeguards despite its limited membership, but the club never notified the state. The suit also alleges the state of Oregon and Benton County failed to properly inspect and license the pool by not noticing these variations in annual inspections.

Tomas’ parents, Marcela Pizano and Jorge Barreto, are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Rod M. Jones is representing the parents in the case.

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Anthony Rimel covers weekend events, education, courts and crime and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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