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Solicitors prepare for E.Coli battle

29 September 2009

Solicitors for sick children infected with E.Coli during trips to Godstone Farm in Surrey are preparing claims against the farm’s owners.

Richard Geraghty, partner at Rusell Jones & Walker in London, is acting for three-year-old Alfie Weaver, who has been hospitalised in an isolation ward with severe kidney problems.

“E.Coli is a well-documented infection associated with contact with animals and known to occur when people go to these petting farms,” Geraghty said.

“However, there has never been a cluster on this scale.”

Geraghty said victims of the infection could sue the farm’s owners for negligence, and also possibly under health and safety laws dealing with control of hazardous substances.

“There is a question mark over whether the owners of Godstone Farm took appropriate action when the outbreak was confirmed,” he said.

“In particular it would appear that there are some doubts over whether they moved quickly enough in closing their doors to the public.”

Along with Alfie Weaver, Geraghty is acting for an adult infected by E.Coli at Godstone.

He added that the Health Protection Agency’s report on the outbreak was expected soon.

Jill Greenfield, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse, said she was acting for several families and some of the most severely ill children, in connection with the E.Coli outbreak.

She said she was being contacted by victims’ families every day.

“I can’t believe how many cases there are” Greenfield said. “I’m horrified that so many children are suffering so seriously.”

She said she was applying for legal aid and believed that, unless an admission was made by the farm, there would eventually be a group litigation order.

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