Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

King v. Hoffman

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

December 18, 2019

Ricardo King, etc., appellant,
v.
Ricardo Hoffman, et al., respondents. Index No. 50415/15

          Argued - October 15, 2019

         D61578 G/afa

          Worby Vecchio Edelman LLP, White Plains, NY (Michael G. Del Vecchio and Richard S. Vecchio of counsel), for appellant.

          Miranda Sambursky Slone Sklarin Verveniotis, LLP, Elmsford, NY (Debora J. Dillon of counsel), for respondents Ricardo Hoffman, Paige Hoffman, and SH.

          Collins, Fitzpatrick & Schoene, LLP, White Plains, NY (Charles A. Collins, Jr., of counsel), for respondents Melinda Kaufman and Mark Thomas Kaufman.

          Mead, Hecht, Conklin & Gallagher, LLP, White Plains, NY (Elizabeth M. Hecht of counsel), for respondent River Management, Development and Realty, Inc.

          MARK C. DILLON, J.P., JEFFREY A. COHEN, FRANCESCA E. CONNOLLY, LINDA CHRISTOPHER, JJ.

          DECISION & ORDER

         In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, the plaintiff appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Dutchess County (Christine A. Sproat, J.), dated January 10, 2017. The order, insofar as appealed from, granted that branch of the motion of the defendants Ricardo Hoffman, Paige Hoffman, and SH which was for summary judgment dismissing the strict liability cause of action insofar as asserted against them, granted those branches of the separate motions of the defendants Melinda Kaufman and Marc Thomas Kaufman and the defendant River Management, Development and Realty, Inc., which were for the same relief as to them, and denied, as academic, the plaintiff's cross motion for a unified trial.

         ORDERED that the order is modified, on the law and the facts, (1) by deleting the provision thereof granting that branch of the motion of the defendants Ricardo Hoffman, Paige Hoffman, and SH which was for summary judgment dismissing the strict liability cause of action insofar as asserted against them, and substituting therefor a provision denying that branch of the motion, and (2) by deleting the provision thereof denying, as academic, the plaintiff's cross motion for a unified trial; as so modified, the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with one bill of costs to the plaintiff payable by the defendants Ricardo Hoffman, Paige Hoffman, and SH, and the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, Dutchess County, for a determination on the merits of the plaintiff's cross motion.

         The plaintiff's child, FBK, suffered injuries inflicted by a dog owned by the defendants Ricardo Hoffman, Paige Hoffman, and SH, a minor (hereinafter collectively the Hoffman defendants). The incident occurred on September 8, 2014, when FBK was eight years old. At the time of the incident, the plaintiff and FBK lived in the first-floor unit of a two-family house, and the Hoffman defendants lived in the second-floor unit. FBK asked SH for permission to enter the Hoffman defendants' apartment to use the restroom. FBK claimed that before SH allowed FBK into the apartment, SH ensured that the Hoffman defendants' dog was secured upstairs. As SH and FBK walked up the stairs to the Hoffman defendants' apartment, the dog ran down the stairs and bit FBK on the leg and buttock area.

         The plaintiff commenced this action, inter alia, to recover damages based on a theory of strict liability.

         The Hoffman defendants failed to establish their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the strict liability cause of action insofar as asserted against them. The sole means of recovery of damages for injuries caused by a dog bite or attack is upon a theory of strict liability, whereby "a plaintiff must establish that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner knew or should have known of the dog's vicious propensities" (Ioveno v Schwartz, 139 A.D.3d 1012, 1012; see Petrone v Fernandez, 12 N.Y.3d 546, 550; Collier v Zambito, 1 N.Y.3d 444, 446). "Vicious propensities include the propensity to do any act that might endanger the safety of the persons and property of others in a given situation" (Bard v Jahnke, 6 N.Y.3d 592, 596-597 [internal quotation marks omitted]). "Evidence tending to prove that a dog has vicious propensities includes a prior attack, the dog's tendency to growl, snap, or bare its teeth, the manner in which the dog was restrained, and a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm" (Hodgson-Romain v Hunter, 72 A.D.3d 741, 741; see Bard v Jahnke, 6 N.Y.3d at 597; Velez v Andrejka, 126 A.D.3d 685, 686).

         The record shows, inter alia, that prior to this incident, the dog was often restrained within the Hoffman defendants' apartment, particularly when visitors were present, but also, while only family members were present. By itself, the fact that a dog has been customarily confined cannot serve as the predicate for liability where "[t]here [is] no evidence that [the dog] was confined because the owners feared [it] would do any harm to their visitors" (Collier v Zambito, 1 N.Y.3d at 447; see Roche v Bryant, 81 A.D.3d 707, 708; Sers v Manasia, 280 A.D.2d 539, 540). Here, however, the record contains evidence that the Hoffman defendants attempted to limit interaction between the dog and visitors. The record shows that SH attempted to secure the dog prior to letting FBK into the apartment on the date of the incident. The record also shows that the Hoffman defendants acquired the dog partly to provide "security" for the family.

         In addition, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovants (see Stukas v Streiter,83 A.D.3d 18, 22), the record shows that approximately two months prior to the incident, this dog allegedly attempted to bite the plaintiff, tearing his pants leg. Further, the evidence of the "intensity and ferocity" of the attack tends to establish the Hoffman defendants' knowledge of the dog's vicious propensities (see Matthew H. v County of Nassau,131 A.D.3d 135, 148). Under these circumstances, the Hoffman defendants were not entitled to summary judgment dismissing the plaintiffs strict liability cause of action ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.