Thomas Pardo, Associate at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, settled a case for a 13-year-old girl bit by a Pitbull. In the State of New York, to recover for a dog bite, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to prove the defendant knew or should have known the dog had prior vicious propensities.
The defendants in this case had gotten the dog just three or four days before the attack from people they did not know. They additionally claimed they were never advised, nor observed the dog act in a manner indicating it was a danger to anyone.
The defendants made a motion to have the client’s case dismissed on the grounds that she could not prove prior vicious propensities. The defendants also contended that the plaintiff had healed well with no discernable scars, even though the injuries to the plaintiff’s face required plastic surgery.
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin were able to locate the dog’s prior owners, and took their depositions. The prior owners claimed the dog was never vicious, but after further questioning, one of the owners admitted he had warned defendants that the dog could get nervous and upset around children. The firm was able to oppose the defendants’ motion and the defendant settled the case for $200,000, before the motion was decided.