The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: City wants court to dismiss drowning lawsuit

By Mary Hladky

The city has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it after Francis Roselin drowned during Boca Bash last year.

Before being reported missing, Roselin, 32, of West Palm Beach, was last seen swimming in Lake Boca on April 29, 2018, during the popular boating party. His body was found five hours later at the bottom of the lake.

Tamekia Rich, the mother of Roselin’s 5-year-old daughter, A’niylah, and the personal representative of Roselin’s estate, filed the lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, contending the city and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did not regulate or control the “wild and overcrowded” event.

She also argued that the city and wildlife commission were negligent because they allowed too many boats into Lake Boca and failed to remove boats when it became apparent they caused a hazard to public safety.

In its motion to dismiss filed on April 5, the city countered that it did not host or sponsor Boca Bash and that Rich had failed to state a valid liability claim.

Lake Boca is part of the Intracoastal Waterway, which the city does not own and does not have the authority under Florida law to regulate. Further, previous court rulings have established that cites are immune from lawsuits based on claims like Rich’s, the motion states.

“While the city acknowledges that Mr. Roselin’s passing was a tragic event, it is simply not an occurrence for which municipal liability can be imposed,” the motion states. “All of the alleged ‘duties’ allegedly ‘breached’ by the city are discretionary functions from which the city is immune.” 

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