Summary Judgement for Landlord in Pitbull Case

Summary Judgement for Landlord in Pitbull Case

Marking a victory for DAR by partner Pennie Liu and associate Kelly Kim, they obtained summary judgment in a dog bite/premises liability case in favor of our landlord clients who rented out a single-family home in El Monte.  Unbeknownst to the landlords, the tenant’s pitbull had violently killed another dog years before it attacked the plaintiff.  Plaintiff argued that this previous incident, as well as a handwritten provision in the lease agreement approving tenant’s “two pet dogs” was evidence that the landlords had actual knowledge of the dog’s propensities and that they should have realized the dog’s violent propensities.   The defendants argued that they did not have actual knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities because they were unaware of the prior incident. 

After extensive oral argument at the hearing, plaintiff convinced the Court to allow supplemental briefing on the issue of the landlords’ alleged failure to conduct routine inspections of the property, arguing that, had they done such inspections, they would have seen the dangerous pitbull on site, bark and growl at visitors.  Based on the supplemental briefing, the Court granted summary judgment, concluding that one cannot assume a dog is dangerous based solely on its breed and growls/barking.

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