$350,000: Young Child Attacked By Neighbor’s Dog

CASE DESCRIPTION:  Upon the invitation to come and use their neighbor’s pool, the L. family went to their neighbors house.  The L’s young son was attacked by the neighbors dog in front of his young sister.

RESULT:  $350,000.00 total settlement

Plaintiffs Wayne and Elizabeth L., Doe 1 minor and Doe 2 minor, were neighbors of defendants at the time of this accident.  Defendants owned an eight year old Golden Retriever.  The attack which is the subject of this claim occurred on August 9, 1998, while Elizabeth L’s family was swimming in the backyard of Defendants’ house by invitation of Defendants’ minor daughter.

Shortly after arriving in the pool area, Doe 1 minor was savagely attacked by defendants’ dog who bit into Doe 1 minor’s face and head.  Doe 1 minor’s parents, Wayne and Elizabeth, immediately rushed to Doe 1 minor’s aid, but not before severe facial injuries had been sustained.  Doe 1 minor’s young sister, Doe 2 minor also witnessed the entire incident.

The plaintiffs contended that the dog bite statute applied since the homeowner’s minor daughter invitation to the L. family would suffice.  Since plaintiffs had an “open invitation” to use the pool area from their neighbors, the defendants.

The defendants contended that the dog bite statute did not apply since plaintiffs were on the premises at the invite of defendants’ minor daughter, and not by invitation of defendants themselves, who were not home at the time.  Furthermore, defendants were not negligent since the dog was located in their backyard at the time of the attack, and did not have a history of vicious behavior.


INJURIES:  Immediately following the attack by defendant’s dog, Doe 1 minor was rushed to Children’s Hospital.  Doe 1 minor sustained multiple complex lacerations of the right upper eyelid, right lower eyelid, right malar region, right forehead, anterior neck, publingual and lower lip mucosal line.  Later that day he underwent the first of several surgeries to repair the extensive eyelid, facial and scalp lacerations to the right side of his face. Over a year later Doe 1 minor underwent additional surgical procedures to repair his indented cheek.

This experience has had a dramatic emotional impact on Doe 1 minor.  This impact is heightened by the feeling that others observe his stitches and scars.  He often feels sadness out his appearance and feels ridicule from his peers, and occasionally insensitive adults.  For this reason, he has occasionally seen a psychologist to cope with the emotional trauma.

Doe 2 minor claimed a negligent infliction of emotional distress (Dillion v. Legg) based on their observance of attack.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE:  a minor child.


Darren O. Aitken
For Plaintiff – Wayne & Elizabeth L., individually and as Guardian Ad Litem of Doe 1 a minor, and Doe 2 a minor

Ted Endres
For Defendants – Bruce & Linda T.