Montgomery County PA Dog “Attack” Victim Loses Case

Posted on: June 29th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A June 24, 2010 legal opinion of Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Paul Tressler dismissed a dog “attack” victim’s case. A woman attended a Super Bowl party at a friend’s home. During the game, the defendant’s 98 lb. golden retriever was kept upstairs away from the guests. The dog owner did this as one of her friends had a fear of dogs.

During the halftime show, the defendant went upstairs to get the golden retriever in order to take it outside. When the defendant and her dog were going down the steps, they encountered the plaintiff and other guests dancing to the Rolling Stones halftime show. As the golden retriever jumped off the steps, it somehow collided with the plaintiff.

The dog’s tooth got caught inside the victim’s mouth. She immediately began to bleed and was taken to a local emergency room. The dog “attack” victim was ultimately diagnosed with suffering from permanent nerve damage. Her Pennsylvania dog bite attorney filed a lawsuit versus the dog owner. The trial judge granted the defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Since there was no proof of prior vicious propensities and the incident occurred inside the defendant’s home, there was no violation of the PA Dog Law. The facts did not support a finding of failure to confine, nor of harboring a dangerous dog. Pennsylvania Law does not expose dog owners to a strict liability standard. Unfortunately for the plaintiff, this appears to be a situation that was truly an accident with no negligence on the part of the dog owner. Slack v. Krail, Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery Co. PA No. 07-23620 (June 24, 2010 J. Tressler)