Father of toddler found at bottom of pool at Lufkin motel files lawsuit seeking $1M

Photo: KTRE
Photo: KTRE

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The father of the toddler who was found at the bottom of a pool last month has filed a lawsuit against the owners of Motel 6 in Lufkin.

It was in March, when Arianna Smith, 3, was found in the pool. Bystanders jumped in to save her, but she later died in a Houston hospital.
KTRE obtained a copy of the lawsuit which is seeking more than $1,000,000 for damages, lack of security, medical and burial expenses.

The lawsuit alleges that the girl "gained access to the pool in the courtyard of the motel, fell in and drowned." It cites witnesses who said the lock on the pool was broken at the time of the incident.

"In a commercial setting like this, the industry standard is that you would have a fence that would be at least 48 inches tall, that would have some type of mechanisms on the gate to prevent this exact type of incident," said Michael Pierce, one of the attorney's named on the lawsuit.

Pierce said under Texas law, the fault falls on the business owner to conduct and maintain proper inspections and training to ensure appropriate pool security.

"If you own a business and if you welcome the public into that business for your financial benefit, you have a responsibility to repair and known defects on the property," Pierce said. "You also have a responsibility to be reasonable in inspecting the property so that you can discover defects like this and you can correct them so that this type of accident doesn't happen."

The girl's dad, Rondarius Smith, filed the lawsuit against Smit Inc., Motel 6 Inc. and G6 Hospitality LLC.

Additionally the lawsuit says the lack of training, and un-safety of the area near the pool are factors that play into gross negligence.

The G6 Hospitality issued this response.

"G6 Hospitality is aware of a lawsuit involving the property in Lufkin, Tex. We are deeply saddened by this tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers go out to those that were impacted. We do not believe it would be appropriate to discuss a pending litigation at this time."

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