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Parents of Boy Mauled to Death Settle Lawsuit with Pittsburgh Zoo

In 2012, Maddox Derkosh jumped from his mother’s arms and fell 10 feet from a wooden railing into a wild African dog exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Maddox was mauled to death after the fall. Now, the parents of the boy have settled their lawsuit with the zoo, according to The Associated Press.

Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh released a joint statement on Monday with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

“Details of the settlement will remain confidential. The Derkosh family and the zoo request that the privacy of all parties involved be respected,” the statement said.

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Maddox is the only visitor in the history of the zoo to die on the property. The zoo is 116-years-old. The lawsuit was filed in May of 2013 and a counter was made by the zoo in September of the same year. The zoo claimed that the mother was to blame for the boy’s death because she held him above the 4-foot-tall wooden railing that went around the platform.

“The injuries and damages sustained by Maddox Derkosh, including Maddox Derkosh’s death, were caused solely by the carelessness, negligence, and/or recklessness of Elizabeth Derkosh,” the attorney for the zoo said in a court filing. She “knew or should have known he could fall into the exhibit” and failed “to maintain a proper grasp of Maddox Derkosh after lifting him over the railing.”

Robert Mongeluzzi, the attorney for the parents, said that the zoo “failed miserably in their solemn responsibility to prevent the attack” and “shamelessly attacked Maddox’s grieving mother.”

Stephen A. Zappala Jr., the District Attorney for Allegheny County, said that he investigated the death and called it a ‘tragic accident.’ He decided against prosecuting the mother or officials from the zoo.

The dogs were moved to other zoos across the country and the Pittsburgh Zoo houses cheetahs now. In 35 inspections of the exhibit since 2006, no issues have been found.

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