Chain | Cohn | Stiles files claim on behalf of family of 8-year-old attacked by dog at school

May 16, 2019 | 10:04 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed a claim on behalf of the family of a second-grade student who was bitten on the face by a dog while in her classroom.

Leilani, 8, suffered severe lacerations and tearing to her face when she was attacked by one of two large dogs visiting her classroom on May 9 at Wayside Elementary School (Bakersfield City School District) in south Bakersfield. The dogs belonged to a volunteer reader from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office.

The family alleges in the claim that Bakersfield City School District and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office negligently allowed the volunteer reader to bring into the classroom two dogs, and failed to supervise the dogs in a safe manner. As a result, Leilani suffered severe injuries. The family further alleges that the dog owner is strictly liable pursuant to California Civil Code section 3342 (Dog Bite Statute).

The dogs appear to be similar to Akita or Chow breeds.

This case is a warning to school officials and parents toward allowing animals near young students on school campuses.

“A school should know better than to allow dogs into a second grade classroom.  No matter how gentle the dogs may be, their behavior can be unpredictable,” said Matthew C. Clark, attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles. “Unfortunately for Leilani, she is likely to have lifelong facial and lip scarring, and vision difficulties.  Let this be warning to schools, and to dog owners: Do not bring dogs onto school campuses. The risk is simply too great.”

Chain | Cohn | Stiles resolved a lawsuit in 2016 on behalf of a Bakersfield woman for $2 million in what was the largest award for a dog bite case against a public entity in California at the time, according to VerdictSearch, a verdict and settlement database.

UPDATE: AUGUST 2019

Chain | Cohn | Stiles filed a lawsuit against the Bakersfield City School District on behalf of Leilani Rivera.

“This little girl is scared to go back to school,” attorney Matthew Clark told The Bakersfield Californian. “It’s the last thing you want to see in your kid,” especially someone who “admittedly loved” going to school, Clark added.

A case management conference is scheduled for January 2020, and the trial is expected to be scheduled to begin in the later months of 2020 or early months of 2021.

“We think the system is going to do this young woman justice,” Clark said. “It’s a horribly unfortunate event.”

———

If you or someone you know is bitten by a dog, please call the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000, or chat with us online at chainlaw.com.

———

MEDIA COVERAGE

CASE FOLLOW-UP

LAWSUIT FILED