Another mega-bucks pit bull attack award
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August, 2002:
BINGHAMPTON, N.Y.–A New York State Supreme Court jury on
June 3 awarded $208,750 in damages to Maressa Ann Zawisky, 9, for
severe injuries to her nose, cheek, and jaw suffered when in March
2000 a chained pit bull terrier belonging to neighbor Willie Harris
jumped a fence and mauled her in the yard of her mother and
stepfather, Cookie and Robert Rieger.
The apparently unattended pit bull, who had attacked a
nine-year-old boy in 1999, gave birth to seven puppies earlier
during the morning of the attack.
$130,000 of the award is to be held in trust for Zawisky
until she is 18, but may be released earlier to pay for plastic
surgery, as authorized by chief trial justice Joseph P. Hester Jr.
The balance is to compensate attorney Julio Urrutia for
pursuing the case on Zawisky’s behalf.
The award was consistent with recent settlements in dog
mauling cases, but the case was unusual in that the insurers of the
Harris family property chose to go to trial instead of settling.
About 95% of all dog-mauling cases are settled before a court verdict
is reached, Urrutia told Nancy Dooling of the Binghampton Press &