Three families whose children contracted E. coli after visiting the North Carolina State Fair filed suit Friday against the owners of a Chatham County petting zoo that state health officials have pinpointed as the source of the disease outbreak.
Lee County residents Timothy and Kellie Baldwin and their 3-year-old son, Matthew; Harnett County residents Jayson and Wendy Ennis and their 3-year-old son, Chad; and Jackson County residents Keith and Jennifer Chauvin and their children, 3-year-old Cameron and 17-month-old Luke, are the plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed by a Seattle law firm that specializes in E. coli-related litigation nationwide.
“Twenty-four outbreaks have been linked to fairs and petting zoos since 1995,” said attorney William Marler, of the Seattle law firm Marler Clark. “Any operator of a petting zoo should be well-versed in the ways of preventing E. coli infections among their patrons and should have procedures in place to do just that. At this petting zoo, procedures were woefully inadequate to prevent an outbreak.”