Virginia Woman Sues State over Son’s Drowning at Park

March 12, 2010

A Pittsylvania County woman whose son drowned at Smith Mountain Lake State Park has filed a $15 million lawsuit against the state and several other defendants.

Dora Mae Henley’s lawsuit claims the death of her 12-year-old son, Marvin Strickland, was partly due to negligent training and supervision of park lifeguards. The lawsuit was filed March 4 in Pittsylvania County Circuit Court.

Strickland drowned on Aug. 7, 2008, while on an outing at the park with a church group.

The attorney general’s office defends the state against lawsuits. Chief Deputy Attorney General Charles James declined to comment on Henley’s lawsuit.

The church, several lifeguards and church chaperones also are named as defendants.

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