Settlement reached in 1998 trampling by bull at National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry

bpurser@macon.comApril 17, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A settlement has been reached in a 1998 trampling in which a man was injured while helping unload two bulls at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.

The amount of the settlement between the plaintiffs, Tony and Laura Young, and the defendants, the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, was not disclosed.

Bradley J. Survant, one of the Macon attorneys representing the Youngs, said Wednesday that he expects to file a notice of dismissal this week in Houston County Superior Court. The settlement averted a jury trial.

“It’s a long time coming,” said Survant, who noted he always has mixed feelings about a settlement when weighing whether to go to trial or not. “We just try to do what’s best for our client.”

In the agreement with the Youngs, the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association disputed liability and made no admission of wrongdoing, but agreed to the settlement to dispose of the claim, Survant said.

Perry attorney John G. Walker, one of the attorneys representing the authority and the association, said that was correct.

“We denied liability and continue to so,” said Walker, who noted that there’s expense and uncertainty with any jury trial. “It was resolved in a manner that was agreeable to all parties.”

The original complaint was filed May 20, 2000, by Tony Young and his wife, Laura, against the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority, the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, Ronnie Shelby, who owned the two bulls, and others. Shelby and the others were later dismissed from the suit.

The case went before an appellate court three separate times on three different issues before returning to Superior Court for trial.

According to a case summary of the claim, Tony Young and Shelby, both experienced cattlemen, were displaying their bulls at the First Annual Georgia Beef Exposition on April 2, 1998. Young was helping unload Shelby’s two bulls from their trailer into a pen by manning the gate of the pen.

Instead of running into the pen, though, one of the bulls ran into a panel on the gate. The panel reportedly broke loose and impaled Young’s upper thigh. He was thrust to the ground, where he was trampled and kicked by the bulls, the summary stated.

His right femoral vein was punctured and he sustained a torn left rotator cuff. The Youngs contended that the rotator cuff injury prevented him from working as a cattle embryologist, which requires the use of both arms.

The lawsuit alleged that the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association failed to provide adequate security, supervision, management and controls of animals being exhibited. The lawsuit had sought compensation for injuries, medical bills, lost wages and other damages to be determined at a jury trial.

Walker noted that the facts of the case as presented in the claim were disputed, however. The Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association maintained that there was inherent risk involved that Young assumed when working with animals that weigh more than 1,200 pounds, Walker said, and that Young’s injuries did not happen as the result of any failure of any equipment.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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