- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 29, 2020

ATLANTA (AP) - The Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday to halt a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of a teen who drowned during a trip to Belize more than four years ago.

The court unanimously ruled that Tomari Jackson’s mother, Adell Forbes, could not proceed with the lawsuit since it was not filed within the one-year time period required by the Central American country, news outlets reported.

Jackson, a 14-year-old student at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, drowned in February 2016 during a school-sponsored trip at the Sibun River in the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Rome News-Tribune reports that Forbes filed her lawsuit in Cobb State Court in March 2017, accusing the sanctuary, its owner and several school chaperones who were on the trip of “willful, wanton and unconscionable disregard” and negligence.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the Cobb County School District and the county government were also included in the lawsuit, which alleged the defendants didn’t monitor the students. It also said the students weren’t wearing life jackets.



Forbes later dropped the lawsuit against the county government, and the state court dismissed the case against the district and the chaperones.

It also tossed out the lawsuit due to Belize’s one-year time frame for cases like these. Forbes appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals, which sided with her and said Georgia’s two-year statute of limitations applied in the case.

An appeal of that ruling by the defendants led to the recent ruling by the state Supreme Court.

Forbes’ attorney, Tricia “CK” Hoffler, said Forbes was disappointed with the decision but has not been “disappointed with the effort, tenacity and our ability to leave no stone unturned.”

Part of the lawsuit regarding Forbes’ personal injury claims could still go forward.

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