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Family settles lawsuit in mauling death of boy at Pittsburgh Zoo

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Parents of 2-year-old boy reach settlement with Pittsburgh Zoo after child's death
  • Boy was mauled to death by wild African dogs after falling into exhibit at zoo in 2012
  • Details of settlement are confidential, according to joint statement

(CNN) -- The family of a 2-year-old boy who was mauled to death after falling into an exhibit of African painted dogs has reached a settlement in a lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Zoo.

"Details of the settlement will remain confidential," attorneys for the boy's parents said in a joint statement released Monday with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Maddox Derkosh slipped over a railing, bounced into a safety net, bounced again, and tumbled into the exhibit in November 2012.

"The Derkosh family and the Zoo request that the privacy of all parties involved be respected," the statement said.

At the time, zoo officials said there was little anyone could do after the boy fell.

"There were 11 dogs in the exhibit," zoo President Barbara Baker, a veterinarian, said after the tragic death.

Although there were zoo employees within feet of the exhibit, and others rushed to the scene, it was too late -- it was clear the child was dead, Baker said. "There was no reason to send our staff into harm's way," she said.

The medical examiner found that the little boy did not die from the fall, Baker said.

Railings throughout the zoo are designed to make it difficult to place children on them, Baker said. They're at a 45-degree angle so that if a child is placed on one and falls, he or she would hopefully fall backward, away from the animal enclosure, she said.

Pittsburgh police said the child was with his 34-year-old mother when he fell from the top of a platform railing and "was immediately attacked by eleven dogs inside the pen."

Zoo spokeswoman Tracy Gray said they had no comment beyond the brief joint statement.

The parents' attorney, Robert Mongeluzzi, also declined further comment.

CNN's Josh Levs contributed to this report.

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