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Bad dog

The pit bull that belonged to the son of Elsie Campbell was a bad dog all right.

So bad, in fact, that Campbell wouldn’t get out of her car when she went to the house that she owned and allowed her son to live in rent-free. When Campbell stayed in the car, the dog would bite the tires of the vehicle. Knowing that the dog had bitten someone, Campbell told her son to get rid of it.

Predictably, the dog seriously mauled a friend of the son at the house, and the friend sued. The jury awarded him $175,000 in damages from the estates of Campbell and her son.

The Supreme Court of Virginia awarded Campbell an appeal, but affirmed the verdict today in an unpublished order, King, executrix v. Meyer, Record No. 070570. She had failed to object to an instruction aimed at establishing the duty of a property owner to protect a licensee from a known danger, the court said. Under Rule 5:25, it couldn’t consider that assignment of error, the court held.

The court also found the evidence sufficient to support the verdict. “Campbell was aware that the dog had previously bitten someone. Campbell’s knowledge of the dog’s dangerousness was confirmed when she demanded the removal of the dog from the premises. Campbell was aware of the violent tendencies of the dog and did not remove the dog or post any warning signs.”

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