by Brian Mahany
Foreclosures not only destroy families and their hopes and dreams, they can also cost lives. In a nation with millions of abandoned properties, tragedy is never far away. With no one to maintain the property, abandoned houses often become home to vagrants, drug dealers, and rats. When an abandoned house has a pool, it can become a death trap.
In a recently published report, Miramar, Florida authorities say a toddler was found dead in an algae filled pool next door to his grandparents home where he was visiting. Two-year-old Issac Dieudonne apparently got to the pool through an unlocked gate after wandering out of his grandparent’s yard. The pool belonged to a house whose owners moved out after losing their home to a foreclosure.
No good can ever come from the death of a child but in this case, the parents can’t even obtain justice and compensation. JP Morgan Chase, which apparently obtained the house through foreclosure, claims they are not responsible as they had yet to take possession. The former home owners also deny responsibility claiming they lost their home in foreclosure. And the same paperwork problems that plague millions of Americans facing foreclosure also are at play here.
Like most cities, Miramar’s building code requires a fence around a pool with a self locking gate. With no one living in the home, however, there is no one to drain the pool, maintain the fence and keep kids away from the property.
The tangled legal trail that accompanies most foreclosures makes it difficult to sue. In this case, there were apparently two different foreclosures, a “foreclosure mill” law firm and disputed paperwork. And the one we believe to be most responsible – the bank that foreclosed on the property – claims it didn’t have possession.
Nothing is clear in this case except that Issac’s parents will never get to see him grow up. The parents have brought a wrongful death action naming the bank, servicing company and homeowners association, among others. Sadly, the death of Issac isn’t the only death traced to abandoned and foreclosed homes with pools. For the sake of 2 year old Issac Dieudonne and all the other children hurt in abandoned houses, let’s hope that lenders get the message loud and clear and learn from this tragedy.
The law firm of Mahany & Ertl sues banks on behalf of homeowners who feel like they have been victims of dishonest dealings or a wrongful foreclosure. If you think you have a case, contact attorney Anthony Dietz at All inquiries are kept in strict confidence.
Please note we are not a personal injury firm and generally do not handle foreclosure defense.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan & Minneapolis, Minnesota. Services available in many jurisdictions.
* Hat tip to Barbara of New Orleans for sending us this story.