Firm announces plan to sue over Hobart drowning deaths
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent July 17, 2014 11:46AM
Updated: July 18, 2014 2:03AM
A national law firm that is representing the family of two Gary brothers who drowned in a water-filled pit in Hobart said Thursday it plans to file a $60 million lawsuit against the person who dug the pit.
Kelley Witherspoon LLP, which has an office in Chicago, said the firm will seek $60 million in a lawsuit it plans to file by Aug. 1.
In a news release, the firm said the unsecured pit where Donel Smith, 9, and Terrion Smith, 8, drowned is on property owned and operated by Randy Goldschmidt and Goldschmidt Construction Services in Hobart.
Goldschmidt had no comment about the lawsuit when contacted Thursday but said he does not own the property in the 4000 block of Missouri Street where the drownings took place. He did not name the owner, saying it is a matter of public record.
County records list a Portage resident, Alan Simmons, as the owner. Simmons told the Post-Tribune last month that he sold the property to Goldschmidt in May 2013, though county property records indicate that sale has not yet been recorded.
Goldschmidt has been named as the owner of the property and excavator of the pond by several city officials and in a police investigation into the matter. The report said the pit was 12- to 20-feet deep.
Witherspoon is asking anyone with additional information regarding the matter, including eyewitnesses and family members, to contact the firm at (866) 297-1416 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to preliminary findings of a Hobart police investigation into the events leading up to the drownings, Goldschmidt dug the pond without obtaining required permits or receiving proper approvals although he was informed beforehand what those would be.