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Sandals Whirlpool Death: Man Sucked Into Resort Hot Tub Dies

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 24, 2011 9:49 AM

A lawsuit filed by the family of John Van Hoy Jr. claims that the man was killed in an incident that can only be described as the Sandals whirlpool death--he drowned after being sucked into a hot tub drain at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Nassau, Jamaica.

The family is suing Sandals, its U.S.-based marketing company, and various hot tub part manufacturers for negligence, infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and product liability, reports Courthouse News Service.

Though the incident happened in Jamaica, they are suing in Florida court.

According to the lawsuit, John Van Hoy Jr., 33, was taking a dip in the resort spa when he decided to submerge himself under the water. He somehow became caught in a suction drain and was unable to release himself.

His fiancee attempted to save him, but when she yelled for help, she alleges that Sandals employees walked away.

What's interesting about this Sandals whirlpool death lawsuit is that the family of John Van Hoy Jr. filed suit in a U.S. court as opposed to in Jamaica.

Contrary to common sense, because all of the defendants are either American companies or do business in the country, they can be sued in Florida court.

This, however, does not mean that the Miami court will entertain the lawsuit or even apply Florida law.

The judge can decide that Miami is not the proper venue for the lawsuit, or that the applicable law is that of Jamaica since that was the location of the Sandals whirlpool death.

Because of these possibilities, expect the family of John Van Hoy Jr. and their Sandals whirlpool spa lawsuit to be held up by the defendants challenging jurisdiction.

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