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Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Dog Bite Case


Ventura Superior Court grants OLG’s motion for summary judgment in a dog bite case with causes of action for negligence and premises liability.

In this case, Plaintiff was cutting tree branches when some branches fell into his neighbor’s yard. When Plaintiff reached over to grab the tree branches, the neighbor’s pitbull bit him. The owner of the pitbull was a tenant of the residence owned by OLG’s client. Plaintiff sued the tenant and the landlord. OLG filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the landlord arguing that the landlord had no duty to prevent the dog bite on tenant property because the landlord had no knowledge that the dog had ever exhibited any dangerous propensities.

The Court agreed with OLG that, in the case of residential property, a landlord’s actual knowledge of the domestic pet’s dangerous propensities is required, constructive knowledge is not enough. The Court found that Plaintiff failed to produce evidence showing that the landlord had actual knowledge of any propensity by the dog to be aggressive, vicious, or bite people. Accordingly, the landlord’s Motion for Summary Judgment was granted.

Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration which OLG opposed, and Plaintiff abandoned the motion. Thus, the judgment was entered and costs were awarded in favor of OLG’s client.

Joel Witzman wrote and argued the winning motion, obtaining a dismissal of OLG’s client.