Family of Drowning Victim File Claims for Damages Against the City of Santa Barbara

Family members of a drowning victim have filed claims for damages against the City of Santa Barbara.

The claims state that one of the City’s tenants, Santa Barbara Sailing Center, rented a stand-up paddleboard on April 29, 2017 to non-swimmer Davies Kabogoza who subsequently fell and drowned in Santa Barbara Harbor. The Sailing Center is located at the harbor’s boat rental and sailing instruction facility on City property.

The claims charge that the Sailing Center did not inquire about Kabogoza’s swimming skills, did not help Kabogoza select an appropriate life vest for his skill level and did not advise Kabogoza on how to wear the Type-V life belt he was given, which had to be pulled to activate. The Sailing Center employees, according to the claim, gave Kabogoza a stand-up paddleboard that was not appropriate for a non-swimmer and did not require or recommend that he use a leash to tether him to the board in case he fell.

“The City has a duty to ensure that special care is given when one of its tenants rent equipment for water activities,” says Barry Cappello, managing partner of Cappello & Noël LLP who is representing Kabogoza’s mother and brother. “We understand that City employees were aware of the Sailing Center’s negligence when it came to safety yet did nothing to remedy the problem.”

The claims, filed October 25, 2017, are seeking damages for wrongful death and names Scott Riedman, Harbor Master and Waterfront Director, City tenant/concessionaire Skip Abed, owner of Santa Barbara Sailing Center, and other City and center employees.

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