Nabila Maazouz’s mother is filing a lawsuit against the city of Hillsboro, Oregon, after the drowning death of her 14-year-old daughter back in November 2019. The mother said that her daughter’s death was caused by faulty and dangerous pool covers.
The family is suing for $70 million for damages and cites “wrongful death as a result of negligence.” Some of the defendants listed in the lawsuit include ThermaGard’s manufacturer, Universal Filtration Inc., and its seller, The Pool and Spa House.
The city of Hillsboro, the school district and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is also being included in the lawsuit. The mother claims that they are at fault for not noticing that her daughter never exited the pool.
Maazouz’s mother, Patty, said that her daughter’s death could have been prevented and that she hopes the lawsuit will help keep other young swimmers safe from the same tragic fate.
Following the lawsuit announcement, Hillsboro issued the following statement. They said, “Our hearts remain with the Maazouz family and everyone in our community who has been devastated by the tragic death of Nabila,” spokesperson Patrick Preston said in a statement. “The City of Hillsboro is committed to caring for the safety and well-being of all community members at all City facilities. Because this is pending litigation, we will not be issuing additional comments.”
The young girl died after her swim practice with the Liberty High School swim team. According to the lawsuit, team members were instructed by the coach to cover up the pool with ThermaGard pool covers. These covers keep the water clean by creating a suction over the pool when covered.
A group of swimmers, including Maazouz, grabbed the large covers and swam into the deep end of the pool to attach them. They then had to swim under the thick cover to grab the second and third piece.
During the second covering, Nabila Maazouz didn’t come up from the water and her fellow teammates and coach failed to realize that she was missing. The coach and swimmers left the pool without her.
It wasn’t until her mother, who was waiting outside the facility for her daughter, entered the pool building 20-25 minutes later, looking for her daughter. She asked a remaining coach where her daughter was and the girl’s body was discovered under the pool cover. She had drowned.
Police and emergency responders were called to the scene and they tried to save the young girl, but they had no luck.
In the beginning of their investigation, police were unsure if the young girl was in the pool at the time it was covered.
Nabila Maazouz had attended the Oregon Episcopal School before her death, where she was a freshman. The school issued a statement to their community following the tragic death of the 14-year-old.
It said, “The entire OES community is deeply saddened by the loss of Nabila Maazouz, a ninth-grader at our school. Her passing will be felt profoundly throughout OES and beyond, and our hearts are with Nabila’s family and friends,” Mo Copeland, Head of the school wrote. “Our counselors and chaplains are supporting students, faculty and staff who are grieving, and students are making use of quiet spaces on campus to reflect and share as they process this difficult news.”
Her mother claims that the covers, which forced swimmers to enter the water to use them, were dangerous and that the thick material caused a “dark and disorientating underwater environment” for the young swimmers.
Since Nabila Maazouz’s death, the Parks and Recreation Department changed their policy when it came to the pool covers. Now, staff members are the only ones allowed to cover the pool and lifeguards are on duty during any swim team practices.