The family of the 9-year-old boy who died last summer after swimming in Stillwater’s Lily Lake last August is suing the state of Minnesota, Washington County and the City of Stillwater for $1.5 million, according to an article filed by Mary Divine in the St. Paul Pioneer Press last week. Hearings begin Friday. Dec. 21 in Washington County District Court.
The wrongful death suit on behalf of James Ariola Erenberg, 9, states the local government entities were at fault for not posting warnings about possible Naegleria floweria in the lake, which took the life of a 7-year-old girl back in 2010.
Those are the only two recorded deaths from an amoeba obtained via swimming in a public area in Minnesota history.
Naelgleria amoebas are found in warm, freshwater and can travel through swimmers’ noses to their brains.
Roger Strassberg, an Arizona attorney who has headed wrongful death lawsuits in other states where children have died from the rare, water-borne microorganism, is representing the family.
Ken Harycki, Stillwater mayor, said the claim has been turned over to the League of Minnesota Cities.
Harycki said the beach at Lily Lake remained closed for 2012, and it is not certain whether the beach will open at all for the 2013 swimming season.
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- Obituary for Jack Ariola Erenberg