Mid-America Catastrophe Services

Dog Bites Guest At Home Of Owner’s Parents; Who’s Liable?

 Wednesday, January 19, 2022

 JD Supra

Dog bite cases and their factual differences and distinctions abound. Liability is often based on who owned or controlled the dog.

But, as a recent case illustrates, another determinant of liability may be where the incident occurred.

Jessica Sigmund claimed that she was bitten by a dog named Luke belonging to Christopher Porreca while she was a guest at the home of his parents, Francis and Rosemary Porreca, on January 10, 2019.

After discovery was complete, Francis and Rosemary Porreca moved for summary judgment dismissing Sigmund’s strict liability claim against them, relying on the rule that liability will not be imposed when there is no evidence that the defendant owned, possessed, harbored, or exercised dominion and control over the dog.

They submitted their depositions in which they asserted that they did not own the dog and did not harbor, control, maintain or care for the dog at the time of the incident and that the dog’s owner, their son, Christopher, who was merely a temporary guest in their home at the time, never relinquished control of the dog to them.

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