Three children became violently ill after visiting a petting zoo at a pumpkin farm in Minnesota. Now, one of those children has been awarded $7.5 million after her family sued the company. The exposure she suffered to the deadly E. coli bacteria resulted in her spending nearly a month battling a potentially fatal kidney disease. The young girl’s kidneys shut down. She required surgery and near-constant dialysis.
Jurors in the Minnesota District Court ruled owners of the farm were negligent in preventing their animals from transmitting that sickness and others to young patrons. The majority of the money awarded was allocated for future medical bills and pain and suffering. Her injury lawyer noted it is one of the largest verdicts nationally for an E. coli outbreak, and the biggest to date involving a petting zoo. As he noted in speaking to reporters with FOX9 news station, it’s not that the individuals running the farm were mean or wanted to hurt children. In fact, he called them, “decent people.” However, they failed to educate themselves on the risks of allowing farm animals to come into contact with small children without proper sanitation precautions.
Today, defendant pumpkin patch no longer operates a petting zoo. But the bigger concern is the lack of regulatory oversight on similar operations. Continue reading →