Parents of twins who drowned in community pool file lawsuit

Lawsuit claims Tivoli Park pool gate had been broken for years

By Liane Morejon - Reporter

BOCA RATON, Fla. - The parents of twin toddlers who drowned in a Deerfield Beach community swimming pool are suing the owner of the complex.

Harmani and Harmony West escaped from an apartment in the Tivoli Park community while their parents were taking a nap April 8. They were later found in the water by a couple visiting from out of town.

Attorney Andrew Yaffa announced the lawsuit at a news conference Friday.

"These were engaging, precocious, happy, caring little girls," Yaffa said.

The twins' mother held her babies' blankets while their father wiped away her tears. Their pain is turning to legal action as Yaffa announced a wrongful-death lawsuit against property owner James Batmasian.

According to the lawsuit, there are six pools at Tivoli Park, but only one of them had a working gate.

"None of the gates complied with code," Yaffa said. "The gate in question that resulted in these little girls' deaths had been broken for years."

Lashandra Bush and Howard West are suing for funeral and medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering.

Although it is unclear how the girls wandered out of their apartment, the parents blame Batmasian, claiming his lack of effort to fix the gate directly led to the deaths of their only children.

Yaffa said he would also like to see a law passed requiring every residential community with children to have functioning, self-latching gates.

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