Parents Sue Connecticut Camp for $41 Million After Daughter Contracts Lyme Disease

The teenager suffers from dibilitating injuries, according to the lawsuit

Friday, Oct 18, 2013  |  Updated 10:11 AM EDT
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Camp Sued for $41 Million Over Lyme Disease

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The parents of a New York girl are suing a Connecticut summer camp for $41.7 million, accusing the camp of failing to monitor and protect their daughter, who contracted Lyme disease.

Antonio Ponvert III, the family's attorney, announced the federal lawsuit Wednesday against YMCA Camp Mohawk in Litchfield. Ariana Sierzputowski, the 17-year-old daughter of Joseph Sierzputowski and Abby Horowitz, was bitten by ticks while attending the camp in 2011 at age 14, Ponvert said. She now suffers debilitating injuries including memory loss and migratory joint, muscle and nerve pain, he said. She also suffers from burning sensations in her skin, arthritis, muscle spasms, nausea, dizziness and difficulty breathing, he said.

"This amount also includes the profound mental, emotional and physical pain and suffering she has endured since 2011, and that she will endure for the rest of her life," Ponvert said of the damages sought.

Renee Dwyer, the camp's attorney, declined to comment.

A camp handbook promised to take precautions to protect campers from Lyme disease, Ponvert said.

"Tragically, Camp Mohawk failed to follow even its own written promises to monitor and protect the minor children in its care, and as a result, Ariana sustained catastrophic and permanent injuries," Ponvert said. "Ariana was never told to wear tick protective clothing nor was she consistently instructed to use insect repellant when she and other campers left the immediate camp space for areas likely to have the infectious deer ticks."

Ariana repeatedly visited the camp infirmary and camp nurses with obvious signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, according to Ponvert.

"Even a one-minute exam, after Ariana complained of a variety of symptoms, would have shown she needed immediate medical attention that could have prevented the long-term injuries she now suffers every day," Ponvert said.

Ariana is completing her senior year at home.

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