The mother of an Oregon teenager who drowned after a swim practice in 2019 has filed a $70 million wrongful death lawsuit.
Nabila Maazouz, a 14-year-old freshman at Oregon Episcopal School and member of the Liberty High School swim team, was found dead under a pool cover at Hillsboro’s Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center after a team practice on Nov. 20, 2019.
According to the Oreogonian, the lawsuit alleges that coaches instructed swimmers to cover the pool with heavy covers that create suction when rolled onto the water. Several swimmers who participated in this routine noticed Maazouz’s disappearance, which allegedly took place while the pool was being covered.
Nabila’s mother Patricia Maazouz was waiting in the parking lot as team members exited the facility without her daughter. After going back inside to search the property with coaches, Maazouz found her daughter unresponsive under the covers in the deep end of the pool.
The city of Hillsboro, the school district, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department are among those being sued by Patricia Maazouz for wrongful death and negligence. The lawsuit claims the design of the ThermGard pool covers was “unreasonably dangerous,” which allowed Maazouz to become trapped underneath. ThermaGard’s manufacturer Universal Filtration Inc., as well as its seller the Pool and Spa House, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The Nabila Maazouz Memorial Fund says she is survived by “her parents Mostafa and Patty and older sister Sarah.” The site informs readers that Maazouz “had an exceptional love for learning and curiosity about the world, but what made her special is her exemplary character of kindness, generosity, empathy, humor, gratitude, and her radiant smile. … She made use of every spare minute of her life doing creative activities, including making arts and crafts that she gifted to numerous people on various occasions since a very young age.”
The fund also emphasizes that Nabila dreamed of being an astronaut and loved studying space. This led her to create a series called Astronomy Pictures of the Week (APOW), “where she narrated her five favorite NASA pictures each week.” Her family shared her final entry, dated 10 days before her tragic passing, “because her own words sound—at this moment —like a call from Nabila to bring communities together to create a better world”:
“Ride aboard the ISS and marvel at the beauty surrounding you. Share that beauty with the world, and let humanity see something more. Let people see the merging of the natural, and manmade worlds in such a way that preserves the beauty of each, yet coming together to create a site [sic] even more beautiful than that of their own separate paths.”
City spokesperson Patrick Preston said in a statement to the Oregonian, “Our hearts remain with the Maazouz family and everyone in our community who has been devastated by the tragic death of Nabila. The City of Hillsboro is committed to caring for the safety and well-being of all community members at all City facilities.”