Tommy Lee is cleared in drowning death. The jury rules in his favor in the wrongful-death suit brought by the party guest's parents

By Gary Susman
May 01, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Tommy Lee: Mel Bouzad/Getty Images/NewsCom

For Tommy Lee, it was a feelgood ending. A Los Angeles jury cleared him on Thursday of responsibility for the drowning death of a 4-year-old boy at a birthday party at the drummer’s Malibu house, Reuters reports. The former Mötley Crüe member had been the defendant in a $10 million wrongful-death suit brought by the boy’s parents.

Producer James Veres and actress Ursula Karven-Veres contended that their son Daniel died at the July 2001 birthday party for Lee’s 4-year-old son Brandon because Lee did not have a lifeguard or anyone with CPR knowledge supervising his pool. (Alas, Lee was already long divorced from Brandon’s mother, ”Baywatch” lifeguard Pamela Anderson.) Lee’s camp argued that the party was well-supervised, with every child accompanied by a parent or guardian, and that Daniel had been handed off by his au pair — who left to attend a rock concert — to a nanny who had come to supervise other children.

According to the Associated Press, the jury deliberated for only three hours before ruling in Lee’s favor. ”It was very, very obvious that Tommy Lee was not responsible for the death of that child,” jury foreman Howard Pollock told Reuters. As for Lee, he ”really does not take pleasure” in the verdict, his lawyer, Jim Baratta, told Reuters. ”We feel very badly for these people, but he was never responsible for this, and I think everyone knew that.”