New Federal Safety Law "Cannonballs" into Apartment, Condominium and Hotel Pools

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On December 19, 2008, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 8000 et seq. (the “Act”) became applicable to all “public pools and spas.” The Act was passed following advocacy by the parents of Virginia Graeme Baker, who drowned in a spa after being held underwater for several minutes by the spa drain. Virginia, who was seven years old at the time, was the granddaughter of James Baker, White House Chief of Staff under Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush. Compliance with the Act could result in significant expense to some owners, but failure to comply could result in substantial fines and other penalties and may adversely affect insurance coverage for some injury or wrongful death claims arising from the use of a pool by residents or guests.

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