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Dog bite to child

April 28, 2010
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Trial Report

Steven and Jessica Russell, as parent of Caroline Russell, a minor v. Charles and Sherry Baughman

Court & Case no.: settled prior to filing suit

Injuries: facial scars

Date: Dec. 8, 2009

 

Disposition: $150,000 settlement to parents of injured child

Plaintiff Attorney(s): Steven M. Crell, Cohen Garelick & Glazier, Indianapolis

Defendant Attorney(s): none

Insurance: Grange Mutual Casualty Co

Case Information: Caroline Russell was 6 years old when she visited a friend’s home in Ohio. She was directed by the friend’s mother, the homeowner, to go to the garage to get ice cream. Caroline was attacked in the garage by the homeowner’s dog and was bitten on her nose, mouth, and cheek.
Caroline required 42 stitches in her face and had to have subsequent plastic surgery to correct scarring caused by the attack. She still has scars on her nose and lip that her plastic surgeon indicates will likely be permanent.

Because Caroline’s injuries occurred in Ohio at an Ohio residence, Ohio law controls. Ohio law differs from Indiana law in that a dog owner is strictly liable to a person injured by the dog so long as the injured person has not teased or provoked the dog, and so long as the injured person was legally in the presence of the dog and not committing a crime at the time of the attack.

Thus, in this instance, liability was fairly certain, and the proper amount of damages was the primary focus of settlement negotiations. The homeowner’s insurance company agreed to a pre-suit settlement requiring payment to Caroline’s parents for her benefit in the sum of $150,000. A minor’s compromise was approved by the Superior Court in Hamilton County, where Caroline now lives.

 - Steven M. Crell

 
 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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