Family To Appeal CO Lawsuit Dismissal

OCEAN CITY – Two months after a federal judge dismissed a $20 million civil suit filed against Ocean City paramedics last year by the family of two Pennsylvania tourists who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Boardwalk hotel room in June 2006, the plaintiffs have filed an appeal in the case.

Last June, Yvonne and Morgan Boughter, family members of the pair of tourists who perished from carbon monoxide poisoning at the Days Inn on the Boardwalk in June 2006, filed suit against the town of Ocean City’s Department of Emergency Services-Fire/EMS Division, along with five individual paramedics, for allegedly failing to respond to their first 911 call at around 9:43 a.m. on that fateful morning. In November of 2009, Senior U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson ruled favorably on the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, agreeing with the notion no “special relationship” was forged during the tragic incident between the victims and the defendants.

However, apparently not satisfied with the judge’s decision, the Boughters last week filed a notice of appeal in U.S. District Court, although no formal document outlining the reason for the appeal has been filed yet. A formal appeal will likely be filed at any time after the notice to appeal has been formally entered.

According to the original complaint, Ocean City EMTs responded to a similar call from a family in two adjacent rooms and rendered treatment and transported patients afflicted with CO poisoning, but never responded to Room 121 where the Boughter family was staying. Two members of the family, Patrick Boughter and his daughter Kelly, later succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, while the surviving family members, Yvonne Boughter and her other daughter, Morgan, were later hospitalized.

From the beginning, the plaintiffs alleged the Ocean City Emergency Services hastily abandoned efforts to find the family in distress after tending to the needs of families in other first-floor units in the hotel on the day of the tragedy. Last August, Ocean City filed a motion to dismiss the case against the paramedics, citing a variety of reasons chief among them a notion the defendants owed no affirmative duty of care to the plaintiffs.

Records show at around 9:30 a.m. on June 27, 2006, a family sharing rooms 125 and 127 at the Days Inn called 911 complaining of symptoms associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. A short time later, Yvonne Boughter made her first 911 call of the day complaining her family was experiencing similar symptoms in Room 121.

According to 911 transcripts, the defendants were aware there was another family afflicted with carbon monoxide poisoning, but didn’t respond to the room after taking care of the other patients.