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According to reports, the widow of WWE star Shad Gaspard has filed a wrongful death suit in connection with the wrestler’s drowning back in May, alleging negligence and dangerous condition of a public property.
Per the suit filed on Dec. 21 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Gaspard and his child, identified only as A.G., went swimming at Venice Beach on May 17 of this year. The suit alleges that Gaspard and his child were not provided any “warnings of danger or risk.” The lawsuit alleges that while they were swimming, the pair needed assistance from the lifeguards on duty. The lifeguards in turn “saw Shad Gaspard and A.G. struggling in the water but did not do anything for an unreasonable and negligent amount of time.”
Gaspard had gone missing after his son was rescued. His lifeless body was found days later near a lifeguard tower in Venice Beach at 1:45 a.m. The body had been reported to authorities 15 minutes earlier by two people who were walking on the beach at low tide. The area where the body was found is about a half mile north of where the former WWE star was last seen. According to a report, Gaspard had told the lifeguards to save his son. They were unable to swim back for Gaspard, who could not be found by search crews in helicopters.
The lawsuit also alleges that when the lifeguards did offer help, they did so “without the proper equipment for their duties to assist people in the water.” The suit explicitly alleges that the lifeguards “chose to only assist A.G. and left Shad Gaspard in the water to die.” The lawsuit alleges that the state, county, and city failed to adequately staff lifeguards on the day of the drowning; failed to provide adequate equipment, training, and supervision of the lifeguards on duty; and failed to warn swimmers of the danger.
The Gaspard family attorney reportedly said: “It’s an unfortunate event that occurred that should have been prevented. It’s a good lesson to those public workers that are supposed to be there to save people enjoying the time on the beach that they need to make sure they have the proper protocol, procedures, staff and equipment on the beach at all times to avoid an incident like this in the future. We continue to investigate why this occurred.”
In California, a successful wrongful death case will involve proving that the death of an individual was caused by negligence or reckless actions of the defendant, and that the surviving family members have suffered financially and emotionally because of the loss. The plaintiff must provide convincing evidence to the jury that there was a connection between the negligent act and the cause of death.
Per TMZ, Gaspard’s wife Siliana issued a statement following the tragedy: “Shad was our whole world and we were his. There are not enough words to describe what he means to all of us. He was our heart, our soul, our protector, our warrior. He was a bright force of nature, who brought joy to many through his joyous and gracious nature.”
At that time, Siliana praised the lifeguards and divers who attempted to save and locate her husband saying: “We’d like to once again thank the lifeguards, coastguard, divers, fire and police departments for their efforts.” Gaspard passed away at the age of 39.