A North Carolina couple has filed a complaint against the Cleveland County Fairground and Circle G. Ranch, a Tennessee company that hosted a petting zoo during the fair, for the wrongful death of their two-year-old son. According to the complaint, Hunter “Gage” LeFevers died on October 12, 2012, after allegedly contracting an E. coli bacterial infection, along with 106 other people, while attending the annual Cleveland County Fair. Several children were hospitalized in the aftermath of the E. coli outbreak, but Gage was the only child reported to have died from the bacterial infection. If you believe you have been exposed to E. coli or another potentially deadly bacteria, because of the negligence of another person or party, contact our reputable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a claim against the allegedly negligent party, in order to pursue financial compensation for your losses.
E. Coli Bacteria Spread by Infected Farm Animal Feces
According to court documents, Joshua and Jessica LeFevers attended the Cleveland County Fair on September 30, 2012 with their two-year-old son, and the petting zoo at the fair was owned and operated by the Tennessee-based Circle G. Ranch: Wild Animal Park and Camel Safari. Gage and his parents reportedly bought animal feed at the petting zoo and allowed their son to touch and feed several animals according to instructions posted on signs and given to them by employees. Joshua LeFevers attempted to wash his son’s hands when they left the petting zoo, the wrongful death complaint states, but the washing station near the exit was out of soap. One week later, the two-year-old child became ill and was taken by his parents to Gaston Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted with signs of infection by E. coli 0157:H7. Although E. coli bacteria is generally harmless, this particular strain, which is often spread by infected farm animal feces, can cause serious gastrointestinal problems, and kills 60 people a year. Gage was eventually transferred to Levin Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, where he died on October 12, 2012.
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In their complaint, the LeFevers family is suing both the Cleveland County Fairground and the Tennessee-based Circle G. Ranch for negligence. According to the suit, there were not adequate hand-washing stations near the petting zoo, and animal waste was not adequately kept away from patrons. In addition, runoff from the petting zoo contaminated outside areas, which allowed people outside the petting zoo to come in contact with contaminated fecal matter. In their wrongful death lawsuit, the LeFevers are seeking restitution for their medical expenses, funeral costs and the impact of losing a child. If you have lost a loved one to an injury or illness that you believe was caused by another person or party’s negligence, consult our qualified lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to explore the possibility of filing a wrongful death claim for compensation.