Peninsula woman gets almost $2.5 million in ‘rogue’ cow attack lawsuit – The Mercury News

  • Courtesy of Law Offices of Boris E. Efron

    Elvina Pereira with her twin sons, before her encounter with Holly, a protective Black Angus.

  • Courtesy of Law Offices of Boris E. Efron

    Elvina Pereira at Stanford Medical Center, where she spent four days after being injured by a charging cow at a Half Moon Bay feed store. (Courtesy of Law Offices of Boris E. Efron)

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  • Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group archives

    Black angus cows weigh an average of 1,210 pounds, with bulls weighing about 600 pounds more. They are a common breed raised by ranchers and sold for beef.

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A San Mateo jury has awarded more than $2.4 million to a woman injured by a pet cow at a Half Moon Bay feed store three years ago. It is the largest amount ever awarded in the county in a domestic animal injury suit.

Elvina Pereira was a longtime customer of Azavedo Feed store, her attorney Boris E. Efron said. Pereira had gone to the store on April 23, 2016 to buy hay for her horses when store employee Heather Claitor tried to show Pereira the company’s pet cow, Holly, who had recently given birth to two calves, and was in a pen across from the store.

Pereira followed Claitor into the pen and Holly, a black Angus beef cow, began rubbing her head against Pereira’s leg. But as Claitor approached the calves, Holly suddenly put her head down and charged Pereira, hitting her in the chest and pinning her against a post.

Pereira “felt and heard each of eight ribs break as the cow continued the attack,” Efron said.

The mother of twin boys was rushed to Stanford Medical Center, where she spent two days in intensive care with two displaced and eight broken ribs.

Pereira, who still suffers from neck and back pain that limits her activities, sued the Azevedo Corporation, owned by the Wilbur and Cecelia Azevedo Family Trust.

“Elvina faces a future filled with pain,” Efron said. “She is limited in the kind of work she can do. She cannot participate in most of the recreational activity that she enjoyed before Holly the cow went rogue. She needs lifelong medical care.”

Last week, after two days of deliberation, the jury awarded Pereira $114,600 for past medical bills, $1.3 million for future medical expenses, $250,000 for past pain and suffering, and $750,000 for future pain and suffering for a total of $2,452,825.

Azevedo Feed has not responded to requests for comment.

In addition to compensating Pereira, Efron said the verdict also is notice to farmers, ranchers and feed store operators to put safety measures in place to prevent another tragedy.

“Customers at feed stores and ranches should not be exposed to large animals who, no matter how gentle they seem to be, can become unpredictably aggressive, violent and dangerous,” Efron said. “Feed store owners must take responsibility for the harm their animals cause.”

Pereira was represented by Efron, of Portola Valley, and Walter H. “Skip” Walker of the Walker, Hamilton, Koenig and Burbidge firm in San Francisco.

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