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Student Crushed by Cow Sues University

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on May 19, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Holy cow. College student Nicole Nelsen was in the middle of a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo dairy science course when an unsupervised 1,400-pound cow broke into the mobile shed where she was working on artificially inseminating another cow and crushed her leg.

Whoa Nellie, that's a whole lotta beef. And now Nelsen has a beef with the school.

Nelsen's attorney alleges that the instructor was not present at the time, and left two students in charge of the cattle and the course. She is now suing the university for negligence in the maintenance of the facilities, and its failure to properly supervise the cattle which led to her injury, reports The San Luis Obispo Tribune.

The lawsuit does not state how much money Nelsen is seeking, but her attorney says that her medical bills have been in the hundreds of thousands, according to The San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Schools and other public facilities usually have to exercise some level of care in the maintenance of the facilities. If it seems reasonable that injury can result due to negligence, then the university can be found liable.

It seems that Nelsen may have a case, though Cal Poly officials have not released any statements with information that would support their side.

After all, it seems likely that cows that are going through artificial insemination by relatively inexperienced (but well-meaning students) may get a little angry. And, cows are pretty large animals. Importantly, they are also not always the smiling laughing cows you see in television commercials.

Nicole Nelsen ultimately hopes that her injury will encourage the school to take better care of its grounds and be more vigilant in its supervision of students (and cows), according to The San Luis Obispo Tribune. The dairy science student filed the lawsuit last week.

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