Articles Posted in Dog Bites

A state appellate court recently issued an opinion in a Georgia dog bite lawsuit. The case required the court to discuss the availability of punitive damages in certain Georgia personal injury lawsuits.

The plaintiff was a mail carrier who suffered serious injuries after a large dog attacked her during her route. According to the court’s opinion, on the day of the accident, the plaintiff needed to deliver packages to the dog owner’s front door. As she approached the door, the dog owner’s youngest son came out of the front door to accept the packages. When the mail carrier was returning to her vehicle, she heard the young boy exclaim “no,” and saw the dog was near her leg.

The 60-pound dog bit the plaintiff’s leg, and although she was able to kick him off her leg, the dog latched onto her arm. The dog owner’s older son heard the commotion and came to help pry the dog’s jaws open, at which point the dog finally released the woman’s arm. The woman called emergency personnel, who discovered various other bites on her body. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the homeowner, and a jury awarded her personal injury and punitive damages. The dog owner appealed, arguing that the woman was not entitled to punitive damages.

Recently, the Supreme Court of Georgia released an opinion in a Georgia dog bite case. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was walking her dog when another dog escaped its owner’s yard and attacked her. The woman suffered various injuries as a result of the attack, and she subsequently filed a lawsuit against the dog’s owners.

After her initial complaint, the woman amended her lawsuit by adding the dog owner’s landlord. She alleged that the landlord was liable under OGCA § 44-7-14 because he failed to keep the property in proper repair. Specifically, the plaintiff argued that the dog was able to escape because the landlord failed to fix a broken gate latch. The landlord filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that although he breached his duty to repair the gate, the plaintiff did not show that the dog ever exhibited dangerous propensities or that the landlord knew of any dangerous tendencies. The trial court granted summary judgment in the landlord’s favor, and the plaintiff appealed. The appellate court reversed the ruling, and the defendant appealed.

Generally, under Georgia law, individuals who suffer injuries because of a dog bite or attack must establish that the dog was dangerous or had vicious propensities, that the owner had superior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous tendencies, and that the owner acted negligently. Georgia dog bite lawsuits can be challenging because proving viciousness is difficult, especially if the attack occurred in a Georgia county without a “leash law.” Furthermore, plaintiffs often face difficulties establishing that the dog owner had superior knowledge of the animal’s dangerous propensities. Plaintiffs may face even more barriers to recovery when they try to hold a negligent landlord liable for their injuries.

Earlier this month, the state’s supreme court issued a written opinion in a Georgia dog bite case discussing if a landlord could be liable for injuries that were caused by a tenant’s dog. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff failed to show that any potential negligence on the landlord’s part was the cause of her injuries.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was walking her dogs when she was attacked by several dogs that had escaped from a fenced yard a few blocks away. Evidently, the dogs belonged to a family who rented a home that was owned by the defendant. The plaintiff first filed a claim against the dogs’ owners, but later joined the landlord as a defendant. This case involves only the landlord’s potential liability.

The plaintiff’s claimed that the dogs were able to escape from the fenced yard because the landlord failed to repair a broken gate latch. Apparently, shortly after moving in, the gate latch broke. To keep their dogs in the backyard, the tenants came up with a temporary solution involving tying a leash to the fence and using cement blocks to prevent the gate from opening. On the day of the attack, the dogs broke free. It was assumed that the landlord knew the latch was broken and that the tenants kept dogs on the property.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia dog bite case requiring the court to determine if the lower court was proper to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims seeking punitive damages from the defendant dog owner. Ultimately, the court concluded that the facts gave rise to a material issue regarding the dog owner’s knowledge of her pets’ propensity for dangerousness and whether her actions on the day of the attack showed a conscious indifference to the safety of others.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was taking her son’s dog to the neighborhood dog park. The dog was a five-pound Yorkshire terrier. When she arrived, she noticed the defendant and her two larger dogs were already in the fenced-in park. The plaintiff asked the defendant if she was going to leave soon, and the defendant just shrugged.

A few minutes later, the defendant started to put her dogs on their leashes. However, as she opened the gate to exit the dog park, the two large dogs got away from her control and ran toward the plaintiff’s dog. The plaintiff’s dog was killed as a result, and the plaintiff was seriously injured. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking punitive damages.

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Supreme Court issued an opinion in a Georgia dog bite case requiring the court to discuss and clarify the law when it comes to an owner’s liability for injuries caused by his dog. Under the specific facts presented in the appeal, the court concluded that the plaintiffs did present sufficient evidence that the defendants’ dog did have a dangerous propensity of which the defendants were aware. As a result, the court held that summary judgment in favor of the defendants was not proper.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs and the defendants were neighbors. The defendants’ adult son moved back into their home and brought his dog, Rocks, with him. Rocks was at the defendants’ home for about two weeks when the defendants noticed he was acting aggressively. On one occasion, Rocks snapped at the defendant wife as she tried to feed him. On another occasion, Rocks growled at the plaintiff’s husband when he was visiting the defendants.

The following week, the plaintiff’s wife came over to visit the defendants. Rocks was in the backyard and not in his kennel, although he was on a leash. When the plaintiff wife entered the yard, Rocks charged at her, lunged, and latched onto her leg, causing serious injuries.

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Last month, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued a written opinion in a dog bite case, explaining which elements a plaintiff must prove in order to be successful. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss when a trial judge can make a determination, as a matter of law, that the plaintiff’s case is insufficient. Ultimately, in this case, the court held that the plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence to survive the defendants’ summary judgment challenge.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was bitten by a neighbor’s dog while she was visiting the neighbor in their back yard. The defendants had only had the dog for a little over a week at the time of the attack. Prior to the attack, the dog had snapped at humans twice, once at one of the defendants and once at the plaintiff’s husband. On the day of the attack, the plaintiff entered the defendants’ back yard and approached the dog, which was on a leash. The plaintiff extended her hand gently toward the dog, and the dog lunged at her. As the plaintiff tried to get away, the dog latched onto her leg. The plaintiff and her husband filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants.

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