A city could face a civil wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a five-year-old drowning case.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled recently that the parents of two teenage boys who drowned during an after-hours event in a municipal pool which had inadequate lighting and murky water, could pursue a case against the city of Pella.

A previous effort to sue the city failed in district court because of a statute that provides city-owned swimming pools immunity from liability. There is an exception, however: If an act or omission on the part of a city official or employee constitutes a criminal offense, the plaintiffs then could pursue a case.

Iowa Supreme Court justices determined that, given the set of circumstances in this case, that there may enough evidence to suggest that the city was criminally negligent. Now it will be up to the plaintiffs to prove that in district court.

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