Family plans to sue state over E. coli outbreak - - Columbia, South Carolina

Family plans to sue state over E. coli outbreak

KINGS MOUNTAIN, NC (WBTV) - A year after a little boy, Hunter Tallent, got very sick from an E. coli outbreak at the NC state fair, his family is suing. The family attorney plans to go after not only the state, but the commissioner of agriculture, the manager of the state fair and others.

"It's the only way to do it," Family Attorney Sean Cobourn said. "Hunter and his family have enormous bills. He was sicken through the negligence of the state in our opinion, and they need to pay for it - simple as that."

Hospital bills are still coming in and the family says the state has not offered to help chip in.

"We're still paying for the medical bills," Hunter's mother Lindsay Tallent said. "We used our savings to pay for majority of them but they are still coming in."

The mother says Hunter is doing much better but his body is still fighting the aftermath of E. coli. Her son had a check up in September.

"We were hoping that he would be taken off medicine," the mother said.  "But his kidneys aren't where they supposed to be.  He will be on medicine a little while longer."

The family believes the state could have prevented an outbreak.

"In 2004 they had an outbreak - they knew there was a problem then," Cobourn said. "They failed to correct it and they had another outbreak few years later - there's something wrong with the system."

A lawsuit is planned to be filed in a few days. The mother wants this lawsuit to serve as a wake up call to make this safer at state fairs.

"Get the education out there to people, the mother said. "Let them understand the fair should be a safe place to go, but they need to know the precaution they need to take."

State officials say they will not comment on pending litigation.

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