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4 cows dead after fireworks, church not liable

Posted at 4:21 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 16:31:08-05

A Frederick County church won’t be held liable for a fireworks display that caused a stampede at a nearby dairy farm, killing four cows.

Maryland’s highest court issued the unusual ruling Monday.

Back in 2012, the Calvary Assembly of God Church in Walkersville secured a permit to light fireworks for a youth event on adjoining farm property. The permit allowed the church to host the display, supervised by a deputy fire marshal.

Roughly 300 feet away, the owner of a 69-acre farm housing 90 dairy cows claimed that the 15-minute firework show was so loud it startled the cows, causing them to stampede inside a barn. He sued the church for the loss of four cattle, as well as property damage and loss of revenue.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the church, saying that the fireworks display was lawful and not an “abnormally dangerous activity.”

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