11 Year Old Whose Face Was Lacerated By "Gentle" Guard Dog Defeats Dismissal Motion

On July 24. 2019 an appellate court agreed that the owner of a guard dog (who had never bitten anyone before) that lacerated the face of an 11 year old boy must stand trial. There was no proof that the dog had ever bitten anyone or acted aggressively so the owner filed a pre-trial motion to dismiss arguing that the plaintiff could not prove that: 1) the dog had "vicious propensities"; and, 2) that the owner knew or should have known of such propensities." However, the Court explained that the law is not that simple.

The plaintiff showed that the dog was maintained as a guard dog, that the attack was unprovoked and that the dog would not let go of the boy's face until another boy pried the dog's mouth open. The facial lacerations were so severe that surgery was required and the boy was left with multiple scars. The Court explained that even if this was the first time the dog attacked someone, "knowledge of an animal's vicious propensities may also be discerned, by a jury, from the nature and result of the attack." A jury could find in favor of the boy considering such factors as: "the dog's tendency to growl or snap or bare its teeth, the manner in which the dog was restrained, the fact that the dog was kept as a guard dog, and a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm". I.A. v Mejia, Sup. Ct. Suffolk County, Index No. 22947/14

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


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