From The Montrose Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):
A Montrose family whose teenage son and dog drowned in the South Canal in 2019 hit the canal’s operating entity with a wrongful death suit on May 4.
Their attorney said Matt Imus and Emily Imus, parents of the late Connor Imus, are also pursuing a federal claim against the land management agencies involved with the canal. This is action is undergoing a required administrative resolution process and could proceed to a lawsuit, pending that outcome.
The Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association’s attorneys say in filings that Connor’s death was the result of his own actions, when he apparently jumped into the canal to save his dog, Bella.
Both were swept away by the deceptively calm-looking water and drowned. Connor, a standout on the Montrose High School basketball team, was 17.
As the canal operator, the UVWUA had duties to Connor to mark the property as private and to make clear the dangers of the canal, the lawsuit argues. But per the suit, on May 5, 2019, there was not a chain, a fence or other means of closing off the canal, nor was there signage warning against trespassing and the dangers at the spot where Connor fell in.
The Imuses are suing for negligence resulting in wrongful death and under premises liability resulting in wrongful death, as well as asserting survivors’ claims. They assert UVWUA’s wrongful actions or omissions caused injury and damages to Connor, who lost his life, and also caused ongoing injury to his parents, who continue to suffer emotional distress, pain and grief because of their son’s death. The plaintiffs want a judge to determine compensation for their loss and suffering; the filing does not specify an amount.
The UVWUA’s attorneys said they had no comment at this time.