Derkosh Family Lawsuit Against Zoo Moves Forward
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The civil lawsuit filed by the parents of Maddox Derkosh against the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium will move forward, minus some photographs after a motions hearing Tuesday.
Judge Paul Lutty left most of the suit intact, including the parents’ ability to seek punitive damages in the case.
“We have pled that the zoo acted recklessly when their own employee told them of the harm that could occur to children and they told him to go back to work,” Derkosh family attorney Robert Mongeluzzi said.
Maddox Derkosh was mauled to death when he fell into the painted African dogs exhibit at the zoo.
Attorneys for the zoo had argued in court Tuesday, that there was no abnormal risk to the public by giving visitors a chance to see the wild animals. But attorneys for the family countered based on the fact there was an area where a child could and did fall through.
“She did not take her son and put him on the railing,” Mongeluzzi said. “She was picking him up and he lurched forward.”
“You should not have an exhibit with wild animals in which someone can fall into,” he continued. “It’s just wrong and they had a net there and that net is absolute admission that things would fall there, because there would be no need to put a net there if things couldn’t fall. So they knew about it, they were warned about it and they didn’t do anything about it.”
The photos that can not be used for now were of painted African dogs in other zoos. They could be re-introduced at a later stage though.
Attorneys for the zoo declined to comment on the proceedings Tuesday, citing a policy against commenting on pending or ongoing legal actions.