Lawsuit filed in basketball hoop death of Granger teen
Published: Jul. 17, 2018 at 4:57 PM EDT
The family of a Granger teenager, killed when his indoor basketball backboard came crashing down on him, has filed a lawsuit.
Fourteen-year-old Nolan Gerwels died on June 22.
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday in St. Joseph County against Dick's Sporting Goods, the manufacturer of the wall-mounted backboard and two contractors hired to install it.
The lawsuit says Dick's and Goalsetter Systems, which makes the backboard, did not supply the necessary instructions and hardware to mount the backboard, which weighed 260 pounds.
The backboard was installed by a subcontractor hired by Century Builders, who built the Gerwels home.
The suit alleges the subcontractor used only six two-inch lag screws and none was drilled into wood studs, only into drywall and particle board.
Here is a statement from the Gerwels family's lawyer:
Today, the family of Nolan Gerwels filed a lawsuit against those responsible for causing Nolan’s tragic death on June 22, 2018. Contrary to some news reports, Nolan did not die because of a freak accident. Rather, as detailed in the Complaint, Nolan was killed by the reckless, willful, and wanton misconduct of the individual and corporate defendants named in the Complaint. The Gerwels Family will never be the same due to this preventable tragedy. While nothing will bring Nolan back, the Gerwels are determined to hold accountable all those responsible for Nolan’s death and the suffering inflicted upon their family. Consequently, Nolan Gerwels’ Family will do all they can, including working with local and federal authorities, to ensure that this nightmare NEVER happens to another family.
Century Builders also issued a statement Tuesday:
Century Builders expresses our deepest sympathy and prayers for the Gerwels family in the tragic loss of their son Nolan.
While we understand it’s natural to attempt to find meaning and assess blame for something so tragic, our hope is through the investigation process and resolution of the civil complaint against Century Builders, our differing views on how and why this happened, will fade away. Only the love and memories of a bright and good young man will remain. Again, our prayers will always be with Nolan and his grieving family.
In an industry where lawsuits are not uncommon, Century Builders which has operated for over forty years, has never been sued by someone for whom we’ve built a home. Therefore, a legal claim such as this one, is something new to us. But we trust good people and a fair legal system will ultimately produce a fair result.
As this legal process plays out, we will have no additional comment. We ask only for your help in praying for the Gerwels family.
The Sieradzki family
Owners, Century Builders