Interpace Industries is the target of a lawsuit alleging the company was negligent in the January drownings of two 15-year-old cousins.
Joshua Johnson and Jeremy Brandon were crossing the property Jan. 16 when they drowned in a pond owned by the company. Their parents allege Interpace did not do enough to make the pond off-limits to the public.Interpace disagrees, saying the boys were trespassing and died because of their own negligence.
The parents refused an offer made in early May to settle the case, before 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon, out of court for $1,000 for each death.
The boys disappeared while taking a shortcut through the property in Harrisville. They intended to go to a nearby park, but the only clue to their whereabouts the next morning was a lone basketball floating on a pond.
Authorities speculate the boys were trying to retrieve the ball when they fell through thin ice and drowned.
The pond is left over from the days when the company mined clay for bricks until the 1960s. The hole was filled with water, and company officials have cited the pond's status as a wildlife habitat for not draining it.
Attorneys representing the parents say at the very least, Interpace should have fenced off the pond.
"This is a pond everyone used. Anyone can just walk in and out of that place," attorney John Cummings said.
Cummings said there were no fences preventing access to the pond.