In his recent decision in the case of Ramana v. Diaz, PICS Case No. 15-1738 (C.P. Monroe Co. Aug. 26, 2015 Zulick, J.), Judge Arthur L. Zulick of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas ruled that punitive damages may be imposed upon a dog owner who had knowledge of the risks posed by their dogs after repeated prior attacks after which the dog owners failed to take any action.
In this matter, the court denied the Defendant’s Preliminary Objections seeking to strike the punitive damages claims.
After reviewing the current status of Pennsylvania law on punitive damages claims, the court found that the Plaintiff had alleged sufficient facts to support the claim. In this regard, the court noted that the Plaintiff had alleged that the dogs at issue had come on to the Plaintiff’s property on three (3) prior occasions and had attacked people on those occasions. The Plaintiffs additionally alleged that the dog owners were aware of the dogs’ propensities and that the Defendants failed to confine or control their dogs.
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Source: "Digest of Recent Opinions, and" Pennsylvania Law Weekly (December 1, 2015).