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Settlement awarded in 2009 drowning of St. Charles man

Published: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 5:36 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – A Michigan city and its risk management provider have agreed to pay a St. Charles family $400,000 for the 2009 drowning death of Martin Jordan.

The St. Charles man, 45, died Aug. 1, 2009, after swimming into the choppy waters of Lake Michigan to save his then-9-year-old son, nieces and nephews.

The family was visiting South Haven, Mich., for an annual vacation.

His estate filed a lawsuit against South Haven, which recently reached a settlement agreement.

South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette said in an email the city participates in a risk management pool through the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Association.

“The city and the MMRMA have agreed to pay $400,000 to the plaintiff, as part of the settlement agreement,” Dissette wrote. “The city of South Haven’s deductible is $75,000.”

Additionally, South Haven has agreed to name its existing beach safety program after Jordan and implement beach safety equipment, according to documents provided by the city.

South Haven began using green, yellow and red flags to notify swimmers of water conditions at its beaches this swimming season. Green flags indicate low risk; yellow flags signify moderate risk; red flags represent high risk.

South Haven also plans to establish additional criteria for a “beach closed” notification system, according to documents.

“Marty Jordan will be remembered by a plaque or other suitable memorial in the area near the South beach,” the Jordan v. South Haven Beach Safety Initiative document states. “The city will have a dedication ceremony scheduled for a time that will permit the Jordan family the opportunity to attend. This plaque or memorial would be separate from, and not coincidentally, an existing or future warning device.”

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