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Example Dog Bite Complaint

Motion to StrikeBelow is a sample complaint in a dog bite case. In many dog attack cases, the parties are friends or relatives where the real "defendant" of interest is the insurance company. In this dog bite lawsuit, the parties are friends, roommates, and business partners.

Keep in mind the statute of limitations for most dog bite cases in Maryland is three year. 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE CITY, MARYLAND Civil Division

MARY ELIZABETH BENNETT 
875 Milford Park Drive, #104
Baltimore, Maryland 21228 
Plaintiff, 
v. :
MARGARET EVANS :
875 Milford Park Drive, #200
Baltimore, Maryland 21228 :

COMPLAINT

Plaintiff, Mary Elizabeth Bennett ("Plaintiff"), by and through her attorneys, Miller & Zois, LLC, bring this suit against the Defendants, Margaret Evans, and Counts Property Company, LLC, and in support thereof states as follows:

PARTIES
  1. Upon information and belief, Plaintiff is a female resident of Catonsville in Baltimore County, Maryland.
  2. Upon information and belief, Defendant Margaret Evans (hereinafter "Defendant Evans") is a female resident of Catonsville in Baltimore County, Maryland. The parties are roommates, business partners and friends.
  3. Upon information and belief, Defendant Reasons America, LLC, (hereinafter "Defendant Reasons") is a limited liability company formed and created under the laws of the State of Maryland that carries on most of its business in Baltimore City.
  4. Upon information and belief, Defendant Reasons by and through its employees/members/agents manages and maintains the senior living facilities, including but not limited to Milford Park at Sassafras Meadows, in Baltimore County, Maryland for profit.
  5. Upon information and belief, Defendant Counts Property Company, LLC, (hereinafter "Defendant Counts"), is a limited liability company formed and created under the laws of the State of Maryland that owns property almost exclusively in Baltimore City.
  6. Upon information and belief, Defendant Counts by and through its employees/members/ agents owns and operates the senior living apartment complex doing business as Milford Park at Sassafras Meadows located at 875 Milford Park Drive in Baltimore, Maryland for profit.
VENUE AND JURISDICTION
  1. Venue is proper in Baltimore City pursuant Md. Cts. & Jud. Pro. Code § 6-201(a) since all of the Defendants either reside or carry on a regular business in Baltimore City, Maryland.
  2. There is personal jurisdiction pursuant to Md. Cts.&Jud. Pro. Code § 6-102 and § 6-103.
FACTS
  1. At all times relevant to this dog bite claim, Plaintiff and Defendant Evans were residents of the Millford Park at Sassafras Meadows apartment complex located at 875 Milford Park Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21801.
  2. On or about September 1, 2019, Plaintiff arrived at her apartment complex.
  3. The incident occurred when the Plaintiff attempted to enter the complex through a side door.
  4. Immediately upon opening the door, the Plaintiff was attacked by a large dog that knocked her to the ground.
  5. The large dog was not wearing a leash at the time of the incident.
  6. Upon specific information and belief and the admissions made to the police by all parties, the large dog was owned and controlled by Defendant Evans, whose residence was located on the second floor of the Milford Park apartment complex.
  7. As a direct and proximate result of this incident, Plaintiff sustained severe injuries, including disfigurement and mental anguish. She needed significant medical attention, incurring substantial medical care and expenses and other costs from this dog attack.  She also suffered serious bodily injury, including great physical pain and scarring that is permanent. 
COUNT I - NEGLIGENCE
(Defendant Margaret Evans)
  1. Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 - 17 and in addition, avers,
  2. Defendant Evans, like every dog owner, has a duty to maintain control of her dog; to keep her dog on a leash when leaving her apartment; to abide by the apartment complex rules and policies that required Ms. Evans to keep her dog on a leash when taking the dog outside her apartment; to secure her dog; and to prevent her dog from running out of her apartment and into the common area of the apartment complex.
  3. Defendant Collision breached that duty by failing to maintain control of her dog.  She failed to use reasonable care by keeping her dog on a leash when leaving her apartment; by failing to keep her dog on a leash when leaving her apartment in accordance with the apartment complex rules and policies. She failed to secure her dog and by failing to prevent the animal from running out of her apartment and into the common area of the apartment complex.
  4. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of Defendant Evans, Plaintiff suffered physical injuries from the dog bite.  These injuries caused conscious pain and suffering. These dog bite injures also lead to extensive medical treatment, including scarring. These are permanent injuries.  Plaintiff incurred medical expenses and other damages.
  5. All of the above damages were directly and approximately caused by the aforementioned negligence of Defendant Evans and were incurred without contributory negligence or assumption of the risk on the part of the Plaintiff, or an opportunity for Plaintiff to avoid the incident.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against Defendant Evans in the amount of ONE MILLION DOLLARS ($1,000,000.00), plus costs, pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest as this Honorable Court deems appropriate.

COUNT II - NEGLIGENCE
(Defendant Reasons America, LLC)
  1. Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 - 22 and in addition avers,
  2. Defendant Reasons, by and through its employees/members/agents, had a duty to maintain the apartment complex at Milford Park and ensure the safety of its common areas for its residents. This duty included but was not limited to ensuring that policies and procedures were in place requiring residents to keep their dog(s) on a leash at all times when taking the dog outside their apartment, and giving residents proper notice of these rules and procedures.
  3. Defendant Reasons, by and through its employees/members/agents, breached this duty by failing to maintain the apartment complex at Milford Park and ensure the safety of its common areas for its residents. Specifically, Defendant Reasons failed to ensure that policies and procedures were in place requiring residents to keep their dog(s) on a leash at all times when taking the dog outside their apartment, and by failing to give residents proper notice of these rules and procedures.
  4. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of Defendant Reasons, Plaintiff suffered physical injuries, conscious pain and suffering, incurred medical bills, and other damages.
  5. All of the above damages were directly and approximately caused by the aforementioned negligence of Defendant Reasons and were incurred without contributory negligence or assumption of the risk on the part of the Plaintiff, or an opportunity for Plaintiff to avoid the incident.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against Defendant Reasons in the amount of ONE MILLION DOLLARS ($1,000,000.00), plus costs, pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest as this Honorable Court deems appropriate.

COUNT IV - NEGLIGENCE
(Defendant Counts Property Company, LLC)
  1. Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 - 32 and in addition, avers,
  2. Defendant Counts, by and through its employees/members/agents, had a duty to maintain the apartment complex at Milford Park and ensure the safety of its common areas for its residents. This duty included but was not limited to ensuring that policies and procedures were in place requiring residents to keep their dog(s) on a leash at all times when taking the dog outside their apartment, and giving residents proper notice of these rules and procedures.
  3. Defendant Counts, by and through its employees/members/agents, breached this duty by failing to maintain the apartment complex at Millford Park and ensure the safety of its common areas for its residents. Specifically, Defendant failed to ensure that policies and procedures were in place requiring residents to keep their dog(s) on a leash at all times when taking the dog outside their apartment, and by failing to give residents proper notice of these rules and procedures.
  4. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of Defendant Counts, Plaintiff suffered physical injuries, conscious pain and suffering, incurred medical costs, and other damages.
  5. All of the above damages were directly and approximately caused by the aforementioned negligence of Defendant Counts and were incurred without contributory negligence or assumption of the risk on the part of the Plaintiff, or an opportunity for Plaintiff to avoid the incident.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against Defendant Counts in the amount of ONE MILLION DOLLARS ($1,000,000.00), plus costs, pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest as this Honorable Court deems appropriate.

Respectfully Submitted, Miller & Zois, LLC

_______________________
Ronald V. Miller, Jr.
Miller & Zois
One South Street, Suite #2450
Baltimore, Maryland

PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff, pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-325, prays a trial by jury on all issues.

________________________
Ronald V. Miller, Jr.

We did not plead strict liability against the dog owner for the attack in this case.  But Maryland is statutory strict liability state if the attacking dog is at large in a public place as opposed to being on private property and there is a history of the dog being vicious.  (It is also worth noting that Maryland 's dog bite lawyers do not have a one-bite rule for claims against the dog's owner.)

You will also notice we are trying to hold the landlord responsible.  The ultimate goal is to get a jury instruction (MPJI-CV 24:8 - Landlord's Notice of Defect) to hold the landlord responsible.  To get that jury instruction, you need to meet all of the elements required to hold a landlord responsible for injuries sustained from a dog attack owned by a tenant, the dog bite victim must show the landlord: 

  1. had control over the dog's presence at the property; 
  2. knew the was on the property, and 
  3. was aware that the dog had vicious propensities. 
See Solesky v. Tracey, 198 Md. App. 292, 310-11, aff'd, 427 Md. 627 (2012), but later abrogated on other grounds by Court and Judicial Proceedings § 3-1901. (The court singled out pit bulls for strict liablity which led the Maryland legislature to act.)

Section 3-1901(b) of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Annotated Code is the applicable law on personal injury caused by a dog. It states:

In an action against a person other than an owner of a dog for damages for personal injury or death caused by the dog, the common law of liability relating to attacks by dogs against humans that existed on April 1, 2012, is retained as to the person without regard to the breed or heritage of the dog.

In other words, it does not matter if the injured person is pit bull or a Yorkshire terrier.  

It is also important to know that there are no punitive damages for a dog bite in Maryland unless the owner of dog intended the dog to attack the injured party.

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