Sam Shipley

Employed by COAC as a Summer Activity Camp counselor and was on duty at the time of the drowning. Shipley aggressively "dunked" Yoni numerous times, leaving little Yoni exhausted and disoriented. Shipley later returned to within a couple of feet of where Yoni was floating face down, but took no notice of Yoni's motionless body right next to him.

Nearly four years after Yoni's death, four years of denying any responsibility by the defendants, on the first day of trial March 24, 2009, for the first time this defendant admitted (through his attorney) that he was negligent and the cause of Yoni Gottesman's death. Yet, in depositions he denied being negligent or any responsibility in Yoni's death.


Sam Shipley was negligent and the cause of Yoni Gottesman's death.

Testimony Excerpt - Samuel Shipley 12/03/2008

Q.   It then goes to say -- I'm still on the same
document -- "Mr. Shipley confirmed that he was the
figure seen throwing the kids into the air."  So do you
agree that you were throwing the kids in the air?

A.   From what I see on the video, I might have
been -- I was tossing them around, yes.

Q.   Did you see yourself tossing children around
when you looked at the video?

A.   Yes.

Q.   And do you know who the children were that you
were tossing around?

A.   I do not know.

Q.   And you knew that throwing children or tossing
children was a violation of the pool rules, didn't you?

A.   No, I didn't know that was against the rules
at the time.

Q.   Okay.  All right.  And did you throw the child
there?  Would you call that throwing the child?  Do you
want me to back it up?

Q.   (By Mr. Cappello)  Do you call that throwing?

A.   No.

Q.   What would you call it?

A.   Lifting and falling.

Q.   The pool had pool rules.  Did anybody ever
give you the pool rules before you started working

A.   Not that I can recall.

Q.   (By Mr. Cappello)  Now, it's still the same
child, Mr. Shipley.  Do you see that?  And you were
submerging the child here again, weren't you?

A.   (Witness nods his head affirmatively.)

Q.   Is that a yes?

A.   Yes.

Q.   So this activity that you were doing with this
child that we're looking at is something that you had
been doing that summer?

A.   Yes.

Q.   And nobody had told you to stop it; is that

A.   No.

Q.   None of the lifeguards ever tell you, hey,
stop that?

A.   No.

Q.   Ms. Heller or Ms. Darling ever tell you to
stop it?

A.   No.
Q.   (By Mr. Cappello)  Do you remember at a
certain point in time after playing with the kids and
submerging them that you pulled away from them?

A.   I can't recall the day, but from what I'm
seeing here, it looks like --

Q.   That's what happened?

A.   Yeah.

MR. CAPPELLO:  Okay.  All right.  Danny,
(Videotape is played.)

Q.   (By Mr. Cappello)  And now some other kids
seem to be following you; is that right?

A.   Yes.

Q.   Now, the little red circle is around that
child that you had been submerging?

A.   Okay.

Q.   (By Mr. Cappello)  Now, I appreciate what you
had to say, Mr. Shipley, especially to Mr. Gottesman.
But what I'm particularly interested in knowing is:  Do
you think that you should have had more training from
the club with regards to the safety of children in the

A.   No.

Q.   You don't think you needed anymore training?

A.   No.  I felt qualified for that position.

Q.   All right.  Well, Mr. Shipley, you were the
counselor in the pool the day Yoni died, right?

A.   (Witness nods his head affirmatively.)

A.   Yes.

Q.   It was your job to make sure that those
children were safe.  In part that was your job, correct?

A.   My job was to -- I believe it's the same as
any person's job, to watch after a child.  My specific
duties did not include watching after specific children
in the pool.  I mean, as a person, yes, I love children.
And yes, I would have watched after him the best I
could, and I did.  But as far as a specific duty of who
I was supposed to watch after that was not my specific

Q.   Did Ms. Heller or Ms. Darling tell you that
one of your jobs was to make sure those children were

A.   Yes.

Q.   Okay.  So that day on August 15th, you knew
when you were in the pool playing with those children
that you were to make sure they were safe, didn't you?

A.   Yes.

Q.   Okay.  So the day that you were playing with
the children in the pool, including Yoni Gottesman, Yoni
Gottesman drowned.  We all agree on that, correct?

A.   Yes.

Q.   So do you think you were making sure the
children were safe?

A.   Yes, I do.

Q.   And now after viewing this tape, do you still
believe that?

A.   Yes, I do.

Q.   Do you think your activities of submerging the
children as you did were safe as far as those children
were concerned?

A.   Yes.

Q.   Based upon what experience that you had, sir?

A.   Based upon what experience?  Based upon the
experience that I've had in pools with children.  Based
upon the looks on their faces, the sounds of their
voices and --

Q.   What was the look on the face of the child
that was in the red circle just before you moved away
from that child?

A.   I don't know.

Q.   After submerging the various children that
we've seen in the film and moving away from them, do you
think that was safe, as far as those children are

A.   Yes.

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