Family of Raleigh teen who drowned in electrified pool files lawsuit

Joel Brown Image
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Rosoff family files lawsuit in daughter's death
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Rachel Rosoff, 17, died September 3 in a pool that became electrified.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Instead of celebrating what would've been Rachel Rosoff's 18th birthday, her family was filing a lawsuit inside Wake County Superior Court blaming Rachel's electrocution and drowning on the alleged shoddy repair work of two Raleigh companies.

It was September 3 when the 17-year-old Enloe High senior was found lifeless inside Heritage Point community pool in northern Wake County where she was filling in to be lifeguard that day.

Her family's attorney, David Kirby, says the electrical shock she suffered in the water wasn't enough to kill her but enough to cause her muscles to contract, leaving the strong swimmer unable to move and with no way to fight.

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"This was a horrible death," Kirby said. "She was paralyzed by the electricity, but she consciously drowned."

The Rosoffs filed suit against Raleigh-based Williams Electric Motor Repair and Future Connections Electrical Inc. Kirby says in 2011 repair work at the Heritage Point pool, Williams Electric failed to fully replace faulty wiring and neglected to encase the wires in protective conduit underground.

The suit also accuses Future Connections of installing the wrong size capacitor in the pool pump's motor causing it to fail the day Rachel was electrocuted. Future is also accused of failing to report safety hazards that should have been reported.

"They knew or discovered conditions which were dangerous at this pool and they didn't correct them," Kirby said. "And because of that, Rachel Rosoff died."


In an interview last fall with Rachel's mother, Michelle Rosoff was devastated. The family's lawsuit could end in damages to in the multi-millions of dollars.

"We were super close and (Rachel) always said she wanted to be strong like me. And she was so much stronger than I was at 17," Michelle Rosoff said.

Beyond the lawsuit, the Rosoffs are now actively lobbying the state legislature for a new law mandating annual electrical inspections of North Carolina pools.

"Their whole goal is this won't happen to anyone else," Kirby said.

Last week, the NC Department of Labor issued its report on the incident at Heritage Point.

The report includes a recommendation to the pool management company, Aquatic Management Group, to require electrical inspections at its properties.

But, that is simply a recommendation, not a law.

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