This case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Kings County. The plaintiff in the case is Janine Gordon. The defendants of the case are Grace Roselli and Grace Louhaichy, and Vera Reality Corporation. The judge overseeing the case is David I. Schmidt.
The defendant has moved for a summary judgment in the case to dismiss the complaint made against them by Janine Gordon and any cross claims that may be asserted against them as well.
This case comes from an incident that occurred on the 18th of January in 1997 when the plaintiff was bitten by a dog that is owned by Grace Roselli. When the incident occurred the plaintiff and Roselli lived together as roommates in a building that was owned by the Vera Corporation. The two had entered into a lease agreement on the first of October in 1996.
The plaintiff has stated that she was introduced to Roselli’s dog, Tar, a mixed breed pit bull, before the two moved in together. The plaintiff stated that the defendant had told her about previous aggressive behavior from Tar. These incidents included Tar biting a woman in the thigh at an apartment in Manhattan, ripping the clothing off a man in an elevator, and lunging and tearing the clothing of a homeless man who had asked for change.
Despite knowing about the aggressive behavior of the dog, the plaintiff still chose to move in with the defendant. The two let Tar roam the area of the apartment without restraint. The plaintiff took care of Tar while the defendant vacationed and the dog slept in her bed at times as well.
The incident in question occurred one day while the two women were cleaning the apartment. The plaintiff put her foot on a tire swing that Tar played with. Tar placed his mouth over her foot when she did this. The defendant chastised Tar and then placed her foot on the swing to see the dog’s reaction. Tar did not respond. The defendant then asked the plaintiff to place her foot back on the swing to test Tar. When the plaintiff put her foot on the swing again Tar attacked her. He bit her in two places on the thigh. Her injuries required over forty sutures and a skin graft.
The plaintiff has outlined two causes of action against the defendant Vera, one for strict liability and the other for negligence. The plaintiff states that the principal of Vera, Joshua Guttman, knew of the violent tendencies of Tar and maintained control over the apartment where the incident took place.
Court Discussion and Conclusion
In order to bring forth a case such as this against a landlord a person must prove that the landlord knew of the violent tendencies of the animal and be aware that the animal is residing on the premises. In this case there may have been some negligence on the part of the landlord. However, the plaintiff knew of the dog’s tendencies before she agreed to move into the apartment. For this reason, the negligence cannot be shifted to the landlord for an animal that is residing in the home of the plaintiff.
The court rules in favor of the defendant and grants a summary judgment to dismiss the complaint against them.
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