Bizarre Cow Accident Leads to Sale of Glasbern Inn Farmland

The owners of the Glasbern Inn are selling 100 acres in order to help raise $2.4 million for an appeal of a $4 million federal court judgment resulting from a farm accident.

The entrance of the Glasbern Inn in Fogelsville.
The entrance of the Glasbern Inn in Fogelsville.
A recent federal court verdict of more than $4 million against the Glasbern Inn is forcing owner Al Granger to scale back farm operations and sell much of his 130 acres in Upper Macungie Township.

The award stems from a June 13, 2010 incident in which a Glasbern worker was struck by a 1,200-pound cow and paralyzed.

Granger broke the news to patrons Tuesday on the Glasbern Inn's Facebook page. 

Granger, a retired U.S. Marine, said he plans to sell 100 acres. Granger is getting the land appraised this week and has not yet set an asking price.

"We're not taking donations," Granger said. "The business is profitable. But you can't borrow money off of vacant land."

The Glasbern Inn, a bed-and-breakfast located on Packhouse Road in Fogelsville, features a restaurant, hotel and pasture-raised animals including cattle and lambs. The animals on the working farm were used for restaurant meals. 

Granger confirmed that the Zenith Insurance Company was awarded damages against Glasbern Inc. and himself by a Philadelphia-based federal court. Those damages may exceed $4 million. 

"The verdict was based upon the assertion by the insurance company that it didn’t know that a farm was associated with the inn – this despite the very public contents of our web page, and the PA Compensation Rating Bureau classification that the farm was an incidental operation of the inn. As a result, it will be necessary to raise $2.4 million to post a bond for the appeal of the judgment," the Facebook page reads. Granger confirmed the accuracy of the posting.

Glasbern is offering its farm animals for sale and plans to procure meats from local farmers who use sustainable practices. They will continue to grow vegetables and raise free-range chickens that provide eggs.

Here's a sampling of comments from Glasbern Inn's Facebook page:

Brenda Isamoyer said: "My family farmed that land while the Kerschner family still owned it, up until the time that Glasbern Inn bought it. I'm really sorry to see more of that land go to development. I understand the situation, but it's still sad to see more land lost and to see this happen to your Inn."

Nicki Reimert said: This is such sad, sad news. We live right behind the Glasbern and one of our absolute favorite things about living here is watching the cattle and the sheep. You will continue to have our full support. I'm wishing you the best and hoping for goodness to prevail through all of this.

William B. Good said: The Inn's property is so nice & it would really (stink) to look out the window & see a housing development! Good luck with all you do. We still love it there!

Chuck Thomas said: Have you approached the Township to see if they can purchase as farmland preservation and then lease it back to you to farm for $1?

Ala58 July 18, 2013 at 10:05 AM
This is a shame forpeople who live around the area. More development no doubt. Lease back to a profitable busines for $1 REALLY CHUCK THOMAS! Though I really hate the insurance businesses in this country on every level, it was Mr. Granger's responsibility to have that included into his policy. Posting it is NOT enough. The worse part is we all pay the price of his, Granger's, stupidity. Sure I rather see him keep that land from being developed but not at the taxpayers purse. If my car hits someone and I get sued would I expect someone else to bail me out. The worse part is he made plenty of money to pay for the insurance coverage and I have to think he was avoiding the premium. Let's not forget the person who is now paralyzed from this unfortunate series of events...
Capt. Obvious July 21, 2013 at 12:18 PM
How about setting the land up in some kind of trust or corporate account, and sell shares. If the business was profitable before the accident, why not get investors to help, with a limited ownership for a set term? Pay them back in X years with interest (or whatever it would be considered). If they can't be paid back, they can always sell the land later.
H. R. Paul July 22, 2013 at 02:55 PM
The injuries of the employee are certainly sad and life changing. The money is due him to see that he has some semblance of a quality life. That being said, not including the farmland and it's animals on the insurance policy when they are indeed linked to the Inn itself is not only foolish, it's a financial nightmare waiting to happen in an event of an accident. The owner left himself completely unprotected regarding a major liability. An "umbrella policy" could have been easily purchased and provided millions of liability dollars in a case like this. The premiums would have been very reasonable in annual cost. Someone is "assuming" that the land will sell quickly and easily. There's no guarantee of that. If the farmland can't be sold, you will most likely see the Inn close and the owner file for bankruptcy...


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