The estate of Samuel Itty, the Yale student who drowned during the Bulldogs in the Bluegrass program in the summer of 2000, has filed a lawsuit claiming negligence against the Lakeside Swim Club where he drowned, representatives of both the Itty estate and the swim club said.
The suit was filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court of Louisville, Ky., said Matthew Steinberg, an attorney representing the swim club.
Itty was a 19-year-old sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College when he drowned at the private swim club while in Louisville for the summer of 2000. He was participating in the then 2-year-old Yale Club of Kentucky Bulldogs in the Bluegrass program, which brings Yale students to Louisville to work in nonprofit and private-sector internships.
Dorothy Robinson, Yale’s general counsel, said she was not aware of the lawsuit.
“The University has received no notice that it is a co-defendant in such a suit,” Robinson said in an e-mail.
Rev. Kurien Samuel, Itty’s father, declined comment for this story.
Steinberg was in New Haven Thursday and Friday attempting to talk to students from Bulldogs in the Bluegrass 2000.
Chandrika Srinivasan, an assistant to the attorney representing the Itty estate, also contacted at least one student. The Louisville-based Franklin and Hance, P.S.C. is representing the Itty estate.
Bulldogs in the Bluegrass participant Matthew Baldwin ’03 said he wanted to cooperate with both sides, but said Srinivasan did not e-mail him again.
“I thought it was only right to talk to both of them, so I ended up not talking to either of them,” Baldwin said.
But Baldwin said his knowledge would probably be of little help to the lawyers because he was not in the swimming pool when Itty began to drown. Other students said they also did not know how much help they would be.
“When the tragedy happened, I was not one of the people who had much of a good view of it,” said Bulldogs in the Bluegrass participant Colin Reingold ’02, who did not talk to Steinberg. “I didn’t think I would be very valuable.”
Brian Cunningham, a general manager at the Lakeside Swim Club, told the Yale Daily News in June 2000 that about 15 lifeguards were on duty when Itty began to drown.
Lakeside has two pools covering about three acres, and Itty was swimming in about eight feet of water in a long, winding pool with several other Yale students, witnesses told the News. Students said at the time that the pool was not heavily crowded.
Itty was living in Louisville as one of four Yale students working for General Electric Co. in the city.