(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this dog bite/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
THE DEFENDANT OWED A DUTY TO PLAINTIFF BECAUSE THE DOG IN QUESTION LIVED AT THE DEFENDANT’S RESIDENCE
The law in this area is governed by Civil Code Section 3242, which imposes strict liability against dog owners whose dog causes injury to another.
Although the defendant and most recently, Ms. Cantor, are attempting to claim that the dog had never been to the residence at Maddox before (See deposition of Diana Topp, and the declaration of Maria Cantor), the defendant’s neighbor, Jack Rose, testified in deposition and declaration that the large brown Pit Bull with spots who attacked and injured plaintiff had been living at defendant Diana Topp’s residence for a significant amount of time before the incident occurred. In deposition, the words he used indicated the dog had been living at defendant’s residence and that he had personally seen the dog “on a daily basis, for a period of years.” Further, he is certain that the dog lived at defendant’s residence because he would see the dog on a daily basis because the defendant and Mr. Rose share a common chain-link fence in their backyard. (See Declaration of Jack Rose.) Therefore, a question of fact is raised when the defendant declares that the dog had never once been to her residence when the next door neighbor indicates that the dog had been living there for years.
Second, another neighbor, Mr. Tory Brown, who also lives next to the defendant, said that he has he heard the bark of a large dog on a weekly basis coming from the defendant’s residence over the course of years while he was walking his own dog (See Brown deposition.) Further, on one occasion (approximately three weeks before the incident involving plaintiff) the subject dog aggressively charged Mr. Brown, who had to chase the dog away with a stick. In deposition, Mr. Brown testified that the dog returned to the residence of Ms. Topp after it charged him. (See Brown deposition.)
Mr. Brown changed his dog-walking route as a result of the attack. Further, Mr. Brown testified had seen the same dog again at the defendant’s residence (approximately one week before the incident involving plaintiff) as he was driving his car past Ms. Topp’s residence.
The reality here is that there are facts which indicate that the dog belonged to the defendant, the dog did indeed live at the property and a triable issue of fact exist in this matter for a jury to decide the question of ownership and liability for the damages caused to plaintiff because of the dog attack. (See Part 3 of 4.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.