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The family of Ella Fuehring, a 2-year-old girl killed while attending Harvest Fest at Chester Township's Alstede Farms, has recently filed notices of intent to sue multiple public agencies, including Chester Borough, Chester Township, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the County of Morris, and local police departments. Notices of intent to sue must be filed prior to filing a lawsuit against public agencies. The Fuehrings' notice also lists Alstede Farms, a private entity, as a potential defendant, as well as the driver of the shuttle that struck Ella. 

On October 12, 2014, the day of the accident, Ella, along with her mother, Sarah, her brother, Jayden, and her mother's friend, Joanna Alemany, were waiting to board a shuttle van at Alstede Farms. The Harvest Fest had been well-attended, having received corporate sponsorship from local businesses, including The Shops of Chester (also named as a potential defendant to the lawsuit). The group waited for a shuttle van behind one van, standing in front of a second van, in a driveway. The second van rolled forward, striking Ella and Sarah Fuehring, and Joanna Alemany. In addition to Ella's death, the accident caused Sarah to suffer a broken leg and Joanna a fractured pelvis. Both women were hospitalized for some time after the accident and had to undergo rehabilitation therapy afterward, as well.

Attorneys for the Fuehrings allege that Alstede Farms was negligent in failing to ensure that all attendees of the Harvest Fest were safe, and to adequately plan for the crowds that would attend, in addition to alleging that the driver of the shuttle was grossly negligent and responsible for the death. In their notice of claim, attorneys for the Fuehring family stated the following:

The condition of Alstede Farms represented a dangerous condition which created a substantial risk of reasonably foreseeable injury.... Moreover, no action was taken to protect against the dangerous condition, and such failure was palpably unreasonable in light of the attended circumstances and knowledge of the existence of the condition.
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office conducted an investigation of the incident and recently determined that it would not be filing criminal charges against any of the parties to the incident. The driver of the van that struck and killed Ella did, however, receive a ticket for careless driving. While expressing sympathy for the Fuehrings' loss, Chester Township Mayor William Cogger pointed out that the incident occurred on private property, implying that public entities such as Chester Township would not be liable for the events held there.

If you have suffered a grave loss due to someone else's negligence, seek out legal counsel that will fight to assert your rights in court. While no amount of money can compensate you for such a loss, negligence should not be permitted to occur without penalty. Contact the compassionate and knowledgeable New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Smith & Doran for a consultation on your possible wrongful death or injury claims at 973-292-0016.

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