By Marcelle Dibrell
A Nevada couple is suing their swimming pool service company over the loss of their fish when the pool company mistakenly added chemicals to their koi pond, causing the fish to die.
Daria Hazuda and Paul McDonald filed a lawsuit against Las Vegas-based Thompson Pool Service, accusing the company of breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith, and negligence.
The couple’s swimming pool and koi pond are located within their $1.5 million, 6,170-square-foot home, located on Boulderback Drive in the exclusive Ascaya subdivision of Henderson, Nevada.
Court records state that they brought two of the fish, each approximately 20 years old, with them when they moved to the neighborhood in 2017. Since then, they have acquired additional koi, placing them in the pond, which is “a central feature” of their home, where it flows through the courtyard.
According to the complaint, when Hazuda and McDonald hired Thompson Pool Service, the company was “expressly directed not to touch the koi pond or koi pond equipment.”
However, this July, a service
Thompson Pool Service in Las Vegas, Nevada, is being sued after adding pool chemicials to the koi pond’s filter, killing several fish. Photo credit: Jason Leung technician for Thompson, who had been hired to clean their pool each month, poured unspecified chemicals into the koi pond’s filter, according to the suit, killing all of the fish.
“Hazuda watched as the fish died in front of her,” the lawsuit states. “Besides the mental and emotional anguish, the costs to replace the fish killed by defendants will likely reach six figures.”
It is not known whether Thompson Pool Service has liability insurance that covers fish — not many do.
According to Danielle Bahr, owner and president of Swimming Pool Pro Alliance, fish are expensive, particularly koi, which can cost as much as $25,000 a piece.
Hub International’s Senior Vice President, Ray Arouesty, recalls a claim where a homeowner wanted $500,000 for the death of his fish after a pool tech addded chlorine to the water killing the fish. The homeowner argued that 12 or 13 future generations of fish were lost.
There aren’t many insurance companies that offer fish coverage, but for those service technicians who service ponds, UPA’s insurance has your back. According to UPA’s insurance broker, Sean Reardon, they have seen claims involving some really expensive koi, and they paid.
“We just had a claim back in July where our insured accidentally killed 26 koi fish,” Reardon said. “I was surprised that the claim wasn’t as costly as I would have expected. All said and done, it was under $10,000. So, short answer is yes. We still cover these sorts of accidents.”
As for Hazuda and McDonald: They are asking for damages in excess of $15,000.