The family of a 12-year-old Pickerington boy who drowned in July at the Round Lake Christian Camp in Lakeville has sued the camp and several staff members for wrongful death.
Solomon and Regina Aborbie, the parents of Melvin Aborbie, filed the suit Jan. 2 in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, court records show.
Melvin Aborbie died July 25 after drowning at the camp. He was there participating in a four-day residential basketball program for boys in grades 6-8, according to a court filing.
The lawsuit names the Round Lake Christian Assembly, as well as six employees of the camp, as defendants. The camp employees named in the lawsuit are residents of Summit, Delaware, Knox, Holmes and Wayne counties.
Lance Powers, the camp's manager, did not respond to a request for comment.
The Aborbie family is seeking more than $25,000 in damages for each of the two counts in the civil complaint, for a total of more than $50,000. The lawsuit also seeks an unspecified amount in punitive damages, and "further relief" as the trial court "may deem just and equitable."
The family has requested a jury trial in the case, according to the complaint.
Elyria-based attorney Romney Cullers is representing the Aborbie family.
In a written statement, Cullers said attorneys will continue to investigate the details surrounding Melvin Aborbie's death.
"Our objective is to hold all responsible parties accountable," Cullers said.
In the complaint, Cullers wrote that Melvin Aborbie's death was a direct result of the "negligent, reckless, willful and wanton" conduct of the camp and its employees named in the lawsuit.
As a result, the Aborbie family has "suffered considerable mental anguish, pain and suffering," Cullers wrote in the complaint.
Officials at the time of Melvin Aborbie's death said lifeguards were on duty when the boy drowned.
"They saw him go into the water, but did not see him come back up," Ashland County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Carl Richert said in July. "... They went into action after he did not return to the surface after he went in."
Jenny Taylor, an Ashland County Coroner's investigator, said officials believed Melvin Aborbie was taking a swim test when he drowned.
"He was given a thumbs up that it was time to go for his swimming test," Taylor said in July. "He then jumped in, but did not resurface and lifeguards jumped in."
On July 25, first responders were called to the camp, located near the intersection of Ohio 3 and Ohio 179 on the Ashland-Holmes county line, at 3:58 p.m. A dive team recovered Melvin Aborbie's body at 5:23 p.m., Richert said.
The camp, in a written statement on the night of July 25, said it was cooperating with the investigation into Aborbie's death.
"Our staff is grieving with the family," Powers said in July.
"It's a tragic situation."
The lawsuit has been assigned to Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Alison Breaux. No hearings have been scheduled yet, court records show.