Apr 24, 2014
For about 10 years Anthony Hensley came around to the Bay Colony Drive complex in the state of Illinois to tend to a pair of mute swans kept in a pond within the complex to keep geese and their droppings away.
But one morning in April 2012, one of the swans turned on the 37-year-old father of two, according to witnesses, causing his kayak to topple.
The bird continued to lunge at Mr Hensley as he struggled to make it to shore.
The man disappeared under water and dive crews had to scour the 15m-deep pond to find his body.
A medical examiner later pronounced the death accidental.
Wife Amy Hensley filed her lawsuit last week, naming the apartment complex and her late husband's employer, saying the defendants "knew or should have known that mute swans are strongly territorial with a dangerous propensity to attack".
"The presence of the mute swans on the premises rendered it unreasonably dangerous," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also points to local state animal laws that say the owner of an animal that attacks a person can be held liable for damages.