Dismissal with Prejudice – Civil Rights in Dog Bite Case April 2023
Kimberlee Massin and Cara M. Rafanelli
Kimberlee Massin and Cara M. Rafanelli obtained a dismissal with prejudice in favor of a municipal client and its law enforcement officers in a case alleging State Created Danger and Failure to Protect as well as negligence claims and vicarious liability relating to a dog attack. A neighboring dog got loose from its confines and was roaming the neighborhood randomly attacking individuals. Police Officers responded to the reports in an attempt to locate and control the animal. During the investigation, while the officers questioned plaintiff who was getting into her car, the dog attacked plaintiff biting and injuring her as she protected her minor son who was also being attacked. Officers attempted to separate the dog from plaintiff and ultimately shot and killed the animal to free plaintiff from attack. Plaintiff sued alleging the Officers created the danger when they delayed her entry to the car by asking her questions as to whether she had seen the animal running about which gave the dog an opportunity to attack her. BVH obtained dismissal of the complaint with prejudice at the initial pleading stage on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. BVH further successfully defended the dismissal against plaintiff’s counsel’s post-judgment motions to vacate winning dismissal with prejudice for the clients.