Chain | Cohn | Stiles has settled a lawsuit on behalf of a Bakersfield woman for $2 million in what is the largest award for a dog bite case against a public entity in California, according to VerdictSearch, a verdict and settlement database.
On July 21, 2013, Erin Casey (21 years old at the time) was attacked by a K-9 dog accompanying a Kern County Sheriff’s deputy while outside of a restaurant in north Bakersfield. Responding to a domestic dispute, the deputy exited his patrol vehicle and began walking toward Casey. At that time, the K-9 exited the patrol car, ran toward Casey and began biting her for 60 to 90 seconds. Casey suffered several major bite wounds to her leg.
Investigation found that the K-9 escaped from its holding kennel in the back of the patrol car due to a mechanical defect inside of the car. The deputy agreed that the K-9 should not have been let out of the patrol car. In addition, the K-9 failed to respond to commands from the deputy to cease attacking.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed a lawsuit against the County of Kern shortly after the incident on behalf of Casey. The parties recently agreed on a settlement for $2 million, a record amount against a public entity in California for a dog bite case, VerdictSearch records show.
“Law enforcement K-9s are capable of inflicting serious injuries, including death, which is why it is imperative that they only be released when necessary, and in accordance with departmental protocols,” said Clark, lead attorney on the case. “Also, when they are released, they must be under the control of their handler. In this instance, everyone agreed that the K-9 should not have been released, and once it latched onto Ms. Casey, the deputy failed to control his dog. As a result of this mistake, Ms. Casey sustained severe, life-altering injuries.
Clark added: “We believe this settlement fairly compensates Ms. Casey for her loss.”
* Editor’s Note: Neil Gehlawat is no longer an attorney with Chain | Cohn | Stiles *
- Chain | Cohn | Stiles settles $2 million dog bite case against County of Kern (KGET-17, NBC)
- Bakersfield firm settles $2 million in dog bite case (KERO-23, ABC)
- Bakersfield law firm announces $2 million settlement in dog bite case (KBAK/KBFX, 29/58, CBS/FOX)
- Chain | Cohn | Stiles recibe $2 millones por mujer mordido por un perro de policia (Telemundo Bakersfield)
- K-9 bite case settled for $2 million (The Bakersfield Californian)
- Plaintiff claimed officer failed to control K-9 (Verdict Search)