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Nassau County Supreme Court Determines There Are Triable Issues of Fact, Summary Judgment Denied


This case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Nassau County. The defendants in the case are William Lewis and Eleanor Lewis. The plaintiff in the case is Kirk Thompson. The judge overseeing the case is Judge Kenneth A. Davis.

Case Background

This is a personal injury action commenced by the plaintiff against Eleanor and William Lewis. The complaint was filed on the 22nd of October, 2004. In the complaint the plaintiff alleges that the dog owned by the defendants had vicious inclinations and the defendants were negligent in their supervision of the dog.

The defendants provided a verified answer with demands on the 8th of December, 2004.

The incident in question occurred on the 12th of August, 2003 at around 7 p.m. The plaintiff, who worked for the United Parcel Service had completed his route, but was given an additional ten stops. One of the stops included the home of the defendants located at 3536 Silverton Avenue in Wantagh, New York.

The plaintiff arrived at the door and heard the dog, Mattingly, barking and scratching. He rang the doorbell and placed the package on the stoop. He headed towards his van and heard someone tell him not to move. He turned around and saw a Rhodesian ridgeback dog. The dog bit him on the right elbow. Kirk Thomas ran towards his truck. The dog followed and bit himagain on his right hand.

Court Discussion and Decision

In order to grand summary judgment in a case the court must first determine whether or not there are any triable issues within the case. In cases that involve dog bites and a person is seeking to recover based on strict liability, it must be determined if the dog in question has vicious inclinations and if the dog is violent, do the owner know or have reason to know about these tendencies.

In this case there have been several incidents provided that shows the violent inclinations of the dog Mattingly. One of the neighbors states that he was attacked by the dog previously. Mattingly also jumped on an employee from the Long Island Lighting Corporation who was reading the gas meter in the backyard of the defendants. Additionally, the postman for the defendants, Phillip Franco, states that Mattingly has chased him down the street to a home of a neighbor. He said the dog lunged at him so hard that he broke a window in the home.

The plaintiff is seeking to recover based on negligence. In order for this to occur there must be a breach of a specific duty in the circumstances surrounding the injuries. Eleanor Lewis has stated that she knew her front door did not latch properly.

The court has reviewed all of the facts of the case and based on these facts has determined there are triable issues in this case. For this reason the motion for a summary judgment to dismiss all of the complaints against the defendant is denied. The matter at hand shall go to trial.

The law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help you through any type of legal situation, including cases where you are bitten by a pet. If you need legal advice, contact on of our offices located in New York City. You may set up a time to come in for a free consultation. During your free consultation our lawyers will discuss your legal matter with you and determine what course of action that you should take.

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