A Norfolk Circuit judge has ruled that a claim against a condominium association can go forward after a resident suffered an injury in a dog-related altercation, reports Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
Kelly McCarthy, a resident at Ocean Breeze Condominiums, is suing the Ocean Breeze Condominium Association after suffering an injury in a dog altercation involving the association’s president, defendant Kathleen Fennessey.
McCarthy was allegedly walking her dog in the parking lot of Ocean Breeze Condominiums (where she owns a unit) in May of 2012, when Fennessey or her husband opened up the door to their own condominium and let their dogs exit out into the parking lot. Fennessey’s dogs, which McCarthy claims has a history of attacking other animals, attacked her dogs, and in the altercation McCarthy fell and suffered an injury.
McCarthy is suing both Ocean Breeze and Fennessey for compensatory and punitive damages, claiming negligence and a failure to exercise a responsibility of ordinary care.
Ocean Breeze filed a demurrer, claiming that it had no special relationship with unit owners that would produce a duty to protect them, and that it did not have exclusive control over areas of common use and did not have a responsibility to avoid the altercation.
Norfolk Circuit Judge Charles E. Poston agreed that Ocean Breeze had no special relationship with McCarthy, but ordered that the claim could move forward on the grounds that Ocean Breeze could be liable on the agency theory; McCarthy must prove that Fennessey had “substantial involvement in the day-to-day management of the property.” If she is able to, Ocean Breeze may be responsible for Fennessey’s tortious conduct.
We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.
The Parrish Law Firm dog attack injury lawyer works with northern Virginia residents who have been injured by dogs, and are looking to gain fair compensation from negligent owners. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or call us at 703-906-4229.
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