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$225K Awarded for Dog Bite to the Face

Settlement:  $225,000 for permanent, painful and disfiguring scarring

Facts:

The plaintiff, a 49 year old woman, was invited to the defendant’s home to watch a New England Patriots game. While sitting on the floor and engaged in a conversation with defendant’s daughter, she was bitten in the face by defendant’s. The bite left a jagged scar on left cheek and left eyebrow.  Despite plastic surgery, plaintiff has been left with a permanent and disfiguring scar, as well as continual pain.

Issues:

Statutes impose strict liability upon dog owners for damages occasioned by their dogs unless there is a trespass or other tort. Defendant alleged plaintiff must have provoked or startled the dog. Defendant’s dog was described as “aggressively affectionate” and will “assert herself” when trying to regain attention, including one incident when the dog lunged at a child visiting the home. Despite knowing this, the defendant failed to warn plaintiff not to sit on the floor while the dog was present.

Settlement:

The case was settled at mediation for $225,000.

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