published Friday, June 24th, 2011

Chattanooga: Aquarium sued for $2.4 million over child’s illness

The parents of a child who petted stingrays at the Tennessee Aquarium in November and developed a bacterial infection known as “fish-handler’s disease” filed a federal lawsuit seeking $2.4 million.

The complaint by Christopher and Catherine Callaghan, of Cobb County, Ga., alleges that their child touched stingrays and sharks in the aquarium’s exhibit and within six days developed signs of the disease.

Aquarium officials issued a news release late Friday acknowledging the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga.

Spokesman Thom Benson wrote about steps staff took after learning the child was sick, including testing the water. He said no staff members have tested positive for the bacteria and noted other sources of possible contamination.

“(Fish-handler’s bacteria) can be found in soils, mammals — including cats and dogs — and is frequently associated with infections from poultry and swine,” Benson wrote.

See Saturday’s Times Free Press for complete coverage.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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stratparrott said...

Not to mention that there are clearly posted signs and hand washing stations which I am sure would have helped to minimize possible risk. Maybe they should be asked about neglecting to make sure their child washed his hands.

June 24, 2011 at 10:25 p.m.
climber20 said...

According to Christopher Callagan's public Facebook page, he's a lawyer. Figures that a bottom feeding attorney would be suing for something completely ridiculous. What a dirtbag. No one owes him or his lousy family anything. I hope the aquarium doesn't take much of a financial hit because of this vomitous mass.

June 25, 2011 at 12:12 a.m.
Czech123 said...

You would think that if there were a problem at the aquarium, more than one person would have gotten this so-called "disease!" Here's an idea, visit your own aquarium in Atlanta if all you are wanting to do is cause problems!!! Chattanooga doesn't need your $100 that bad, if it's going to cost the city $2.4+ mil. Looks like someone's trying to make a fast buck!!!

June 25, 2011 at 10:09 a.m.

climber, the lawsuit is posted online and is NINE (9) pages long

Czech, you nailed it


No where in the quick research I did does it say this fish disease is life threatening. The kid more than likely had a cut/scrape because that's how the bacteria is transmitted. I would say the parents over-reacted but knowing the father is an attorney says it all. Hope whoever the judge is throws this one OUT. What's wrong with people these days?

June 25, 2011 at 4:25 p.m.
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