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Plaintiff Seeks Punitive Damages, Seeks Leave to Amend Complaint


This case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the state of New York located in New York County. The plaintiff in the case is Dolores Marsh. The defendants in the case are Judy Licht and Jerry Della Femina. The judge overseeing the case is Joan A. Madden.

The plaintiff in the case has made a motion for a leave to serve and file an amended complaint in this case to seek punitive damages. The defendants oppose this motion.

Case Background

This is an action to seek damages that are connected to an incident involving a dog bite. The plaintiff states that the defendants are negligent and should be held strictly liable for her injuries as they knew that their dog had vicious tendencies.

The incident in question occurred on the fourth of August in 2003 when the plaintiff was in attendance at a party thrown by the defendants. When the plaintiff was standing in the pool area at the defendant’s home, she was bitten on her ankle by their dog, a cockapoo named Oreo.

The defendants state that they had put Oreo in their bedroom before any guests arrived at their home. They also state that they did not warn their guests that a dog was present in their home and they did not instruct the staff or family members to return the dog to the bedroom if she were to get out. The defendants state that their property is surrounded by an electric fence, but they only sometimes use the collar on their dog. Both defendants state that they did not see Oreo outside while the party was going on. Defendant Licht did state that a bartender told her that Oreo was sleeping under a table just prior to the incident in question.

Plaintiff’s Evidence

The plaintiff has submitted medical reports that show she received a laceration on her lower left leg that was approximately 4 centimeters in length. The laceration pierced through her skin and her muscle. The plaintiff also suffered from nerve damage, a bone infection, and has a permanent scar.

Additionally, the record shows that before this particular incident Oreo had bitten 3 other individuals either at the defendant’s home or in the vicinity of their home. Pietro Faulisi, who works for the United States Postal Service states that he was bitten on the right leg by Oreo on the 27th of March in 1998. He states that he went to the hospital and received a shot, but did not get any other treatment for the injury. Steven Noethiger, was also bitten by the dog when delivering a package to the home. Andrea Pearlman states that the dog bit her when she walked by on the beach near the home of the defendants.

The plaintiff is seeking to amend her initial complaint to add punitive damages. She states that the defendants disregarded her safety as they did not take any precautions in order to protect their guests.

Court Decision

After reviewing the case facts, the court has decided there is enough evidence to show that the defendants had knowledge of the previous incidents involving their dog. The court is ruling in favor of the plaintiff in this case and granting the right to amend her previous complaint to add punitive damages.

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