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Family of child thrown from balcony in 2019 files lawsuit against Mall of America

The boy suffered serious injuries that have required ongoing care.
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The family of the boy who was thrown from the third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in 2019 have filed a lawsuit against the Bloomington facility.

Minneapolis attorney Mark J. Briol announced on Wednesday he has filed a legal complaint against the megamall on behalf of the family of the Woodbury boy, who has been identified only as Landen.

Landen was just 5 years old when he was thrown over the side of the third-floor balcony railings by 24-year-old Emanuel Aranda, who has since been imprisoned for attempted murder.

The family is seeking damages from the mall, saying they have incurred $1.7 million in medical expenses as a result of the incident, adding that "while the child has made remarkable progress, he will face ongoing medical and health challenges, as will his mother, who witnessed the criminal assault."

The shocking incident in April 2019 prompted an outpouring of support for the 5-year-old, sparking one of the biggest GoFundMe campaigns in the website's history, with more than $1 million raised for the family.

Landen's family said two months after the incident that the child had undergone more than 15 separate medical procedures or surgeries, "including surgeries for two broken arms and a broken leg, removal of his spleen, procedures for fluid in his lungs and stomach, as well as for facial and skull fractures."

A copy of the complaint notes Aranda was well known to security at the Mall of America as a "violent and aggressive man with an explosive temperament." He had been twice banned from the mall for "assaulting mall patrons, making terroristic threats, being combative, and criminally damaging property."

"The assailant never should have been allowed in the mall that day, if allowed to enter, he should have been followed by security," the suit states.

"But the mall failed to take either of these simple, necessary precautions, thereby breaching its duty to provide a safe environment for its guests," it continues.

"As a result [Landen and his family] were forced to endure horrific, entirely unnecessary injuries and suffering that will affect them the rest of their lives."

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The complaint claims the day before the incident, April 11, a security guard had spoken to Aranda due to reported unusual and suspicious behavior, including leaning up against a railing for an extended period of time, observing people walk by while talking to himself.

However, it says the security guard didn't check Aranda's name against its records. Aranda told police the day before he threw Landen over the railings, he had gone to the mall with the intention of killing someone.

The suit notes Landen spent more than 100 days in pediatric intensive care at Children's Hospital Minneapolis as he recovered from his injuries. 

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