Monday, February 26, 2007

Not a bite, but two dogs and an injury nonetheless

While plaintiff was unloading his truck parked on property owned by defendant, an out-of-possession landlord, he was set upon by two dogs which were kept by the property's tenant. To escape, plaintiff scurried up the truck's ramp, fell to the ground, and was injured. Is the owner strictly liable? No, according to the Second Department, in Ali v. Weigand, decided on February 20, 2007. "To recover against a landlord for injuries caused by a tenant's dog on a theory of strict liability, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the landlord: (1) had notice that a dog was being harbored on the premises, (2) knew or should have known that the dog had vicious propensities, and (3) had sufficient control of the premises to allow the landlord to remove or confine the dog." The court was satisfied with the landlord's evidence that she was unaware of the dogs' vicious propsensities.