Articles Posted in Dog Bite Cases

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The Supreme Court of Georgia recently released their opinion in the personal injury case of Eschleman v. Key, in which a young boy was bitten by an official police dog. The defendant was a police officer who worked for a Georgia County police department. In addition to her normal law enforcement duties, she also housed the police dog after its shift. This particular dog was utilized to assist in the investigation and apprehension of those who were suspected to be involved in criminal activity.

IMG_2065During the times that the dog was not “at work,” he resided with the officer at her home. In 2011, the police officer put the dog in the kennel outside her home. However, she did not properly close the kennel door. As a result, the dog escaped from the kennel and began roaming the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the dog ended up coming into contact with a young boy and subsequently biting him, evidently severely injuring him. The family brought a suit against the police officer, but the officer asserted her official immunity to avoid liability.

Official Immunity in Georgia

In Georgia, government officials may assert their privilege of governmental immunity when a party attempts to name them as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. According to the Supreme Court of Georgia, this privilege applies when a government official or entity was carrying out a governmental task that was discretionary (rather than ministerial) when the injury to someone else occurred.

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Late last month, the Supreme Court in Montana decided a dog bite case in favor of the defendants. Evidently, a landlord rented a part of her property to a couple and their dogs, which had pit-bull ancestry. One of the tenants’ dogs ended up biting the landlord’s neighbor’s children on two separate occasions in the neighbor’s backyard.

dog-pitbull-841339-mThe neighbor brought a suit against the landlord, claiming that the landlord was negligent and that she was strictly liable for their daughter’s injuries. The landlord claimed that she was not aware that the tenant’s dogs were dangerous. Additionally, she claimed that the neighbors did not prove that the type of dogs that the tenants had were inherently dangerous. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the landlord, but the plaintiffs then appealed that decision. The Supreme Court in Montana affirmed the lower court’s decision in favor of the defendants.

Georgia Dog Bite Cases and Strict Liability

Strict liability is a theory of absolute liability. This means that an individual can be held liable for certain injuries and damages even if that person was not negligent. This theory often applies in cases involving manufactured goods that are damaged or defective and subsequently cause an injury to an individual using the good. It also applies in many dog bite situations.

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