Gastonia, NC -- The first lawsuits seeking to establish liability for a fatal outbreak of E. coli bacteria at the Cleveland County Fair are in the courts.
The families of 5-year-old Hannah Roberts of Gastonia and 18-month-old Isaac Dover of Cherokee County, S.C., are suing the event's operator. The civil complaint was filed this week in Gaston County.
The lawsuit states that both children became ill a few days after attending the fair last month and developed a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause kidney failure.
The fair's lawyers had no comment.
North Carolina health officials said a petting zoo was the center of the E.coli outbreak, and rainy weather helped spread the bacteria to areas away from the animals.
More than 100 people became sick and a 2-year-old from Gastonia died.