The mother of the woman who drowned in the Blackwater River in 2009 is seeking $5.3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the town of Rocky Mount.

Linda Underwood alleges in a lawsuit filed July 25 in Franklin County Circuit Court the town “in a careless, reckless and negligent manner, with full knowledge of the dangers to users of the Blackwater River, failed to implement measures which would abate the dangers inherent in a low head dam and failed to warn users of the Blackwater River of said dangers.”

Her daughter, Jacqueline Nichole Underwood Mason, was canoeing on the river with three other people when she drowned in the hydraulic pull of the low-head dam July 23, 2009.

The dam, while outside town limits, is owned by the town and is part of its water plant. Soon after Mason’s death, the town put rocks around the base of the dam to interrupt the hydraulic cycle that pulled Mason — and Chris Odum, six weeks earlier — underwater and drowned them. Signs and an area to take out a canoe and walk around the dam to calmer waters also were installed.

Underwood is listed as administrator of Mason’s estate.

In a similar case, a Rockbridge County judge ruled against the parents of teenager Charles Volpe, who drowned in a low-head dam in the Maury River in 2006. The Volpes sought $6 million from the city of Lexington, which they said was negligent in allowing the dam to remain and not warn swimmers. The jury could not determine a verdict.

The Volpes appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court, which recently decided enough evidence existed for a jury to find the city of Lexington negligent and that the facts of the case could have led a jury to find that the city did not do enough to warn of the danger. But the high court upheld the previous ruling that the city should not face a claim of willful and wanton negligence.