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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'll try to make this as easy to read as possible.

The defendant (my friend) is being sued by a neighbor for medical expenses relating to a dog bite. The cute part: His OWN dog bit him and he is claiming my friend's dog bit him.

Heres the letter they got from a law firm (California)

"Our client has advised that without provocation your dog attacked and bit him in front of your home"
"please provide us with your liability insurance company or we will be forced to take legal action"


Now, heres what happened: (and most of this is captured on videotape by another neighbor)

This guy is riding around in the street on a motorcycle with his pitbulls following him, NO LEASH. My friends dog is in the front yard behind a gate. The pitbulls (no leash) turn their attention to my friend's dog and attempt to attack him through the fence.

The guy then attempts to restrain his dog, and somehow in the scuffle the gate opens and my friend's dog is now out in the street. This is captured on a security camera.

There is a scuffle between the owner, 2 pitbulls, and our dog. It is unclear on the video who bites the owner and how, but there is a clear shot of the owner kicking all the dogs as hard as he can.

Witnesses/Evidence:

- My friend's mom says she saw the owner's dog bit the owner
- A neighbor claims to have seen blood on the mouth of the pitbull
- the neighbor who caught this on video keeps security cameras in front of his house simply to catch things like this on tape because these dogs have a history of violence and roaming with no leash.


I want to help them but I have never been involved in any kind of lawsuit. I assume I should just get a lawyer and let the lawyer handle it from there but I was hoping to get any advice from such an active forum.

What are the costs with getting a lawyer? If we are proven innocent, can we counter-sue for court/lawyer fees?

Thanks for reading
 

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Well, I'm a legal secretary and my advice is for your friend to call her homeowners insurance. This is what they are for. They should provide her with a lawyer and handle payments, etc.
 

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Was a animal control called? Did anyone file a police report? If not, your friend should do so and note that the guy was messing with their gate without permission. In some states, trespass can be a defense to a dog bite. And, yes, the insurance company would be the ones to hire a lawyer.
 

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If possible your friend may want to get a copy of that viedo should this go further or there are ever be any problems in the future.
 

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I don't think they'd have a good leg to stand on unless the police were called to the incident and the individual went to the hospital to receive medical attention to add to the case file (right after the attack... not a week later). It would have been in your friend's best interest to have persued animal abuse if her dog was kicked during the other-dog-provoked incident. It is neglectful though to have a pit bull (or any dog for that matter) be in an unsupervised fenced in yard with a gate that can be opened by the dog(s).
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I don't think they'd have a good leg to stand on unless the police were called to the incident and the individual went to the hospital to receive medical attention to add to the case file (right after the attack... not a week later). It would have been in your friend's best interest to have persued animal abuse if her dog was kicked during the other-dog-provoked incident. It is neglectful though to have a pit bull (or any dog for that matter) be in an unsupervised fenced in yard with a gate that can be opened by the dog(s).
- police were not called to the incident. all dogs made it out unharmed, and the pitbull owner fled the scene and his dogs followed him (not on leash). our family did not call the police because we had no idea he was injured, he fled the scene.



- our dog is kept in a fence similar to pictured above but the gate cannot/was not opened by our dog. its hard to tell from the footage, but i believe the gate is opened when our family member opens it trying to get to the other side of the fence to restrain the pitbulls.

- once we are done with our defense, we'd be interested in taking offensive action because we have clear footage of the dogs without leashes and the owner attempting to kick his/our dog.
 

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You may have more trouble if it was someone on "your side" who opened the gate without first restraining the dog who was in your yard. You then had an unleashed dog in the road. My ACD mix is pretty aggressive with strangers and strange dogs, I don't even answer my door without leashing her first..if she got by me and bit someone, I'd be in
big trouble.
 

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I honestly think this guy doesn't stand a chance... but he may give your friend a run for their money trying to persue legal action. They're going to have to file in small claims court before anything happens... your friend will receive a letter in the mail if such happens. They might be sending a letter to "test the waters"... I wouldn't respond AT ALL.
 
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