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A former Nebraska beauty queen is still fighting in court after being thrown into the air by a charging bull at a county fair in 2010.
Jessica Littlejohn claims the Scotts Bluff County Fair was negligent in failing to restrain or secure the bull, which broke loose and charged her. The former pageant queen allegedly suffered a brain and closed head injury as well as "personal, psychological, and emotional injuries," reports the Scottsbluff Star Herald.
Her original suit against the County Fair had some hiccups, but how does Littlejohn's bull case look now?
Technical Error in 1st Filing
The amended complaint that Littlejohn filed in early August was not the first legal attempt to seek compensation for the ex-beauty queen's bull-related injuries. According to the Star Herald, Littlejohn's first suit was thrown out in 2012 after a judge ruled that defendants had not been properly served within six months of her filing suit.
Like many states, Nebraska law requires that any case in which a defendant is not served within six months of the date of filing the complaint must be dismissed. Serving a defendant (referred to as service of process) under these laws typically requires sending him or her a copy of the complaint via certified mail, along with a summons to appear in court regarding the case.
A defendant can also be "served" in person (by a process server), and in some cases, by publishing information about the case in a local newspaper or even via Facebook. Somehow Littlejohn failed to do any of these within six months of filing her initial suit, and a judge properly threw her case out.
Amended Complaint, Same Allegations
The former beauty queen hopefully got some better legal advice this time around. She's filed an amended complaint naming Scotts Bluff County Agricultural Society Inc., the Scotts Bluff County Fair Scholarship Pageant, Scotts Bluff County Fairground, and Juma Rodeo Stock Inc. as defendants. She alleges the defendants were negligent in both their care for the bulls and their directing Littlejohn into harm's way.
You can see what happened in this video clip obtained by South Dakota's KOTA-TV:
Organizers of other bull-related events typically have participants sign liability waivers, but that may not have been the case with Littlejohn's rodeo experience. If there was no waiver and any of the defendants acted unreasonably in either restraining the bulls or failing to protect Littlejohn from the danger, then they may be held liable for her injuries.
Hopefully the defendants were properly served this time though. No bull.