Lawsuits for failure to impound pit bulls
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2013: (Actually published on October 8, 2013)
CHARLESTON, W.V.––The West Virginia Supreme Court on September 27, 2013 reinstated a lawsuit brought against Monroe County dog warden Patricia Green for failing to impound several pit bulls, allegedly the subjects of frequent complaints, who on November 27, 2009 mauled Lowell Bowden, 70, of Lindside. “Maimed beyond recognition,” according to the brief filed by Bowden’s widow, Dreama Bowden, the victim died seven days later. The case also names Monroe County itself, the American Modern Home Insurance Company, and the four people whose pit bulls attacked Bowden. The case was initially dismissed after Monroe County and Green claimed they were immune to lawsuit under the West Virginia Governmental Tort Claims and Insurance Reform Act and the Public Duty Doctrine. The West Virginia Supreme Court ruling came six weeks after the Washington State Court of Appeals upheld a Pierce County jury award of $2.2 million in damages to pit bull terrier attack victim Sue Gorman, 65, of Gig Harbor. Gorman was mauled, her service dog injured, and a visiting Jack Russell terrier was killed by two pit bulls who burst into her home through an open sliding glass door late on August 21, 2007. The jury directed Pierce County to pay $924,000 to Gorman, 42% of the total award, for alleged negligence in responding to as many as 14 previous complaints about the pit bulls. Pit bull keepers Shellie Wilson and her son Zachary Martin were held to be 52% responsible for the attack, 5% of the blame was assigned to the legal owner of one pit bull, who had left the dog with Wilson and Martin, and Gorman was held to be 1% responsible for having left her sliding door open so that her dog and the Jack Russell terrier could let themselves in and out.