Maggie and her mother

By Laura Bacon/NT Staff Writer

Courtney Jayne and daughter, Maggie Jo Zaiger, died after falling into the Big Sioux River at Falls Park in Sioux Falls in 2018.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The city of Sioux Falls is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed after a 5-year-old Audubon girl drowned in the Big Sioux River at Falls Park.

Attorneys last year filed a federal lawsuit against the city on behalf of Courtney Jayne, the mother of Maggie Zaiger. Zaiger fell into the river from river bank rocks on March 18, 2018, during a family trip to the park.

Attorneys representing the city argue that officials responsible for park safety did not breach their duty.

The lawsuit alleges the city had ignored recommendations to put up barriers to more clearly distinguish where the rock ends and the water starts. Zaiger’s family reported that it took only 30 seconds for the girl to fall from the bridge as she reached out to touch the foam created by the falls. Two similar drowning deaths occurred in 2013.

Officials have since installed viewing platforms and walkways with railings to improve safety.