On September 16, 2009, a motion was entered in the Supreme Court of Orleans County with Tracey A. Bannister as Judge. This motion was part of a personal injury action requesting a summary judgment dismissing the complaint against a property owner who is not the dog owner whose dog had bitten another person. In fact, this property owner leases the property to the owner of the dog who lives on the property with his dog.
The incident took place in the home of the dog and the dog owner while the victim and her mother were visiting them. The original complaint claimed that the property owner was liable for common-law negligence, violations of Agriculture and Markets Law 119 and the local leash law. However, the courts of New York have been clear on this subject for many years. An action for damages resulting from a dog bite may only be compensated under a theory of strict liability and not for common law negligence as demonstrated in Petrone v Fernandez, 12 NY3d 546, 550; Bard v Jahnke, 6 NY3d 592, 599; Collier v Zambito, 1 NY3d 444, 446-448.
Because negligence under New York law is no longer a basis for imposing liability in the case of a dog bite, any references to violations of the leash law or Agriculture and Markets laws are not applicable to this case.
Taking this in to account, the property owner in this case appealed the initial finding. Originally, he had requested a summary judgment of the Supreme Court to dismiss all complaints against him. The Supreme Court did not dismiss the complaints and refused to grant the summary judgment.
The property owner then appealed to the Supreme Court of the State of New York appellate Division Fourth Judicial Department. The property owner requested a review of the initial motion. The basis for this review is that it was not appropriate for the courts to find him liable in a personal injury action based on common-law negligence. The property owner maintains that since the State of New York Laws clearly state that no entity or person shall be held liable for compensation in a dog bite case on common-law negligence. The victim would have to make their case on strict liability and show that the property owner was knowledgeable of the dog’s propensity to be vicious. This could easily turn into a criminal case because of the injuries which occurred and the manner in which the incident happened.
The motion to reverse the original order of the court and grant the summary judgment dismissing the complaint against the property owner was approved. The property owner cannot be held liable for the dog’s actions under common-law negligence.
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