COLUMBUS — A Miami County law firm has filed a lawsuit that is receiving national attention.
The Troy law firm of Lopez Severt & Pratt Co., LPA, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Columbus on Monday on behalf of the estate of 18-year-old Lauren Seitz, according to Jose Lopez, a partner in the firm.
The family of Seitz, who was from Westerville, Ohio, filed the suit against the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., one the one-year anniversary of the young woman’s death from a brain-eating amoeba.
Lopez on Tuesday said the lawsuit was filed in the name of Seitz’s estate.
The wrongful death lawsuit — which has been reported on several national and local TV stations since being filed — against the North Carolina outdoor recreational park seeks punitive damages of more than $1 million.
Seitz died in June 2016 from meningoencephalitis, a disease caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER’-ee-uh FOW’-lur-ee). The lawsuit says Seitz contracted the amoeba after she was thrown overboard while whitewater rafting at the park with a church group. The type in infections are rare, but almost always fatal, according to reports.
The lawsuit claims the center failed to properly chlorinate the water, failed to regulate the temperature of the water and failed to warn visitors of the possible danger.
Lopez said it will likely be several months before the lawsuit moves forward while the defendants are served and “we move forward from there,” he said.
Lopez said the firm is representing the family as their lawyers, but said he couldn’t comment on how they came about the relationship with the family.
“We have a reputation that well exceeds Miami County,” Lopez said.
— The Associated Press contributed to this story.