Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Court Rules That But For Plaintiff Approaching and Petting Dog Uninvited, She Never Would Have Gotten Hurt

In the case of Hendrix v. Freemer, No. A.D. 53 of 2022 (C.P. Forest Co. Oct. 27, 2023 Skerda, P.J.), the court granted summary judgment in a dog bite case.

According to the Opinion, the Defendants brought their dog "Oliver," a King Charles Spaniel, to a market village and had their dog on a leash. The Plaintiff came up to pet the dog and, when the Plaintiff squatted down in front of the dog, the dog bit the Plaintiff on the face. It was noted that the Plaintiff did not ask the permission of the dog owners to pet the dog.

The court ruled that, had the Plaintiff not approached the dog uninvited and attempted to pet the dog after squatting down, the Plaintiff never would have been injured.  The court stated otherwise that the reason the Plaintiff got hurt is because she chose to approach the dog, without permission or ample notice to the dog owners, and because she chose to squat down and get close to the dog.  

The court reviewed the law of Pennsylvania that requires a Plaintiff to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known of the possible dangerous or vicious propensities of the dog, and found that the Plaintiff did not produce any evidence to meet the elements of the cause of action in this case.

As such, summary judgment was granted.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney William Wagner of the Erie, PA law firm of Marnen, Mioduszewski, Bordonaro, Wagner & Sinnott, LLC for bringing this case to my attention.

(570) 319-5899

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