Saturday, September 16, 2000

City lawyers cancel meeting

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Lawyers for the city canceled a Friday meeting to discuss a possible financial settlement with the parents of a boy who drowned in a closed municipal swimming pool, but say they are still willing to discuss a settlement with the family's lawyer.

        The parents of Dylan Roberts, 6, have not filed suit over their son's drowning in Rosedale Pool two weeks ago. However, they have not ruled out that possibility, said their attorney, Eric Deters of Fort Mitchell.


        City Solicitor Joe Condit said the city was upset that Mr. Deters released a letter from Covington lawyer Stephen McMurtry offering to discuss a possible settlement in the case, and asking Mr. Deters to name a figure.

        “We're not going to negotiate a very sensitive lawsuit in the media,” Mr. Condit said. “We try to follow legal ethics. If we negotiate a settlement, we intend to do it consistent with the code of conduct for lawyers.”

        “That's a bunch of baloney,” Mr. Deters said. He denied that he had acted unethically, or had negotiated anything in the news media.

        Mr. Deters said that Mr. McMurtry did not advise him against faxing his letter to the press. He added that reporters called him.

        “The city wrote me a letter asking me for a figure,” Mr. Deters said. “I am very comfortable filing a lawsuit and taking this case all the way to a jury.”

        Mr. Condit said he hopes to receive a final report from police next week.

        Mr. Condit said he initiated the settlement talks on his own. Any settlement agreement reached would have to get the approval of Covington City Commission.

        Mr. Deters said that he has sent Covington's lawyers a proposed settlement figure. At the city's request, he said he has agreed to keep that figure confidential “so long as they negotiate in good faith.”

        On the night of Aug. 30, Dylan entered Rosedale Pool through a hole in the fence. Dylan fell into about 7 feet of standing water while trying to catch frogs. His body was recovered the next morning.


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