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Premises Liability Arises from Heifer Attack on Plumber

You might be asking how a case of premises liability could arise from a heifer attack on a plumber. At first glance, it seems ludicrous that a plumber could be attacked by a heifer. The second question is how this attack could become a premises liability case. As strange as it sounds, a heifer did attack a plumber and the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries from the attack was deemed a case of premises liability.Premises Liability Arises from Heifer Attack on Plumber -- Altizer Law P.C.

The Attack

A plumber (age 60) arrived at the farm belonging to the defendant to estimate the cost to install water pipes for defendant’s cattle. Upon arrival, the plaintiff (the plumber) observed the farmer extracting a dead calf from a heifer with a rope being pulled by a farm truck. Defendant requested help from the plumber and a co-worker, which they provided.

After the dead calf was extracted, the defendant released the heifer from a cattle chute. The heifer then went around a corner into one of several pens. The defendant (farmer) directed the plaintiff (plumber) into a pen to create an estimate. The farmer did not, however, close a gate that would have prevented the heifer from entering that pen. As the plaintiff entered the pen through the gate, the large heifer attacked him from the rear. The attack threw the plaintiff 30 feet or more into the air, according to a witness. Plaintiff landed on the back of his neck and shoulders.

Injuries in Premises Liability Case

The plaintiff suffered numerous injuries due to the attack. These included:

  • Traumatic aortic aneurysm, which required immediate surgery to repair.
  • Fractured ribs.
  • Damage to the Subclavian artery.
  • Pulmonary contusions.
  • Morel lavellee lesion of the hip.
  • Abdominal aneurysm.
  • Cardiac arrthymia, which required insertion of a pacemaker.
  • Chronic shoulder, neck and back pain.

A short time after the injuries, plaintiff returned to work on a part-time basis. He was never able to return to full-time work due to the chronic pain. He was receiving worker’s compensation benefits at the time when the case reached mediation. Resolving this matter was complicated by a heart attack and carotid artery surgery to repair damage not caused by the heifer attack. Defendant argued that the pacemaker implant was also not related to the event with the heifer.


Plaintiff claimed medical bills related to the heifer attack of $372,138. A future life care plan was created that was estimated to cost $396,398.

The case was resolved in mediation prior to the trial date. Settlement for the Plaintiff was $1.2 Million.


Why was this a premises liability case? Property owners (of any type of use) are responsible to ensure the safety of the property for people who visit. In this case, the farmer failed to close a gate. He then told the plumber to enter a pen. This failure to close the gate rendered the pen unsafe for the plumber. Thus, in this case, premises liability arose from the heifer attack on the plumber.


Call Altizer Law, P.C.

If you or a loved one has been injured because the premises where an event occurred were unsafe, and you were not responsible for the incident, you may have a premises liability case. We hope you will never need us to represent you, but if you do need representation, we encourage you to call Bettina C. Altizer. Bettina and her team have been helping clients with premises liability cases for more than 25 years. She is known as a compassionate but fierce attorney who fights relentlessly for her clients.

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