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Our VerdictsMr. Di Pino’s Dog Bite Case

February 2, 2016

On January 7, 2016, in the case of Huber v. Huber, pending in the Circuit Court of Kane County, the parties agreed to arbitrate the matter before the Honorable Daniel Kelley at ADR Systems, Inc. The case arose from an incident which happened at the home of Richard and Tammy Huber in Geneva Illinois. On July 30, 2012, Tom Huber and Karin Huber brought their daughter Carly Lyn, age 7 at the time, to Richard and Tammy’s home to swim at their pool. After swimming, Carly went to say good bye to her cousins, Adam and Sabrina, who were in a bedroom containing their dogs, Frankie and Honey. The dogs were rescue dogs of Austrian Sheppard breed. The dogs had been known to be aggressive dogs so they were kept away when visitors came to Richard and Tammy’s home.

Carly knocked on the closed bedroom door and while Sabrina asked her to wait so she and Adam could hold the dogs, Carly opened the door and Honey bit her on the front of her right thigh and after she turned to flee, bit her a second time on the rear of her right thigh. Carly suffered multiple stitches to her leg to close the wounds and underwent antibiotic treatments for the wound on the back of her leg. She had medical of $6079.59. She was left with scars approximately 5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.

Settlement negotiations were at an impasse with the Plaintiff demanding $300,000 representing Richard and Tammy’s homeowners policy limit and American Family offering $70,000. At the arbitration, Carly testified to her fear of dogs and her self-consciousness about the scars, especially on the front of her leg. Her parents testified to her medical treatment and how the dogs were known to have bitten relatives previously. Carly’s attorney urged Judge Kelley to award the sum of $701,000 based on the permanency of the scars and her fear of dogs. The defense disputed liability contending that the opening of the door while innocent constituted a “provocation” under the Animal Control Act and disputed the extent of the damages. The defense also recommended to the Court that if he found the Defendants liable, the sum of $40,000 was fair and reasonable compensation. The Court returned an award in the amount of $106,000.