Widow of duck hunter sues for $40M - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Widow of duck hunter sues for $40M

The widow of a Leesburg man who drowned while duck hunting on Lake Seminole is suing the Army Corps of Engineers for $40 million. Amanda Slappey is seeking $25 million for herself and $15 million for the couple's child.

John Mark Slappey died after he was swept over the dam while duck hunting in December of 2009.

His widow claims his death was caused by the Army Corps of Engineer's negligence.

In December of 2009 34-year-old Mark Slappey disappeared while duck hunting on Lake Seminole. He was inside a floatation device when he was pulled over a spillway at the Jim Woodruff dam.

His body wasn't found until January. Now, more than a year and a half later, Slappey's widow Amanda Deloach Slappey is suing the Army Corps of Engineers for negligence claiming they failed to make sure the dam was safe.

 "The allegations that are contained in the lawsuit are a matter of public record and speak for themselves," said Alex Kaplan, Slappey's Attorney.

The suit claims the Corps of Engineers opened the spillway at the dam and left it open which caused powerful currents. And that a warning sign to stay 800 feet away was nearly invisible from that distance.

The suit also states that buoys and cables used to protect people on Lake Seminole were broken and failed to prevent Slappey from being sucked through one of the open spillways. On the morning Slappey was pulled over one of the spillway gates, dam employees threw a life preserver to him, but the suit states the preserver was rotten and crumbled into pieces.

Slappey was then carried over the spillway gates and disappeared into the water. "At this stage this is the matter of pending litigation and it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time," said Kaplan.

Family members also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The Army Corps of Engineers has not yet filed a response to the suit.

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