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Henry v. Higgins

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
May 14, 2014
987 N.Y.S.2d 72 (N.Y. App. Div. 2014)

Opinion

2014-05-14

Jon M. HENRY, respondent, v. Anne Marie HIGGINS, et al., appellants.

Burke, Gordon & Conway, White Plains, N.Y. (Ashley E. Sproat of counsel), for appellant Anne Marie Higgins. Edward M. Eustace, White Plains, N.Y. (Patricia A. Mooney of counsel), for appellant Aidan Rellis.



Burke, Gordon & Conway, White Plains, N.Y. (Ashley E. Sproat of counsel), for appellant Anne Marie Higgins. Edward M. Eustace, White Plains, N.Y. (Patricia A. Mooney of counsel), for appellant Aidan Rellis.
Stephen D. Donohue, P.C. (Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & De Cicco, LLP, New York, N.Y. [Brian J. Isaac and Jullian Rosen], of counsel), for respondent.

RANDALL T. ENG, P.J., ROBERT J. MILLER, SYLVIA O. HINDS–RADIX, and JOSEPH J. MALTESE, JJ.

In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, the defendants separately appeal from an order of the Supreme Court, Rockland County (Berliner, J.), dated December 18, 2012, which denied their respective motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against each of them.

ORDERED that the order is reversed, on the law, with one bill of costs, and the defendants' respective motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against each of them is granted.

“To recover upon a theory of strict liability in tort for a dog bite or attack, a plaintiff must prove that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner of the dog ... knew or should have known of such propensities” ( Palumbo v. Nikirk, 59 A.D.3d 691, 691, 874 N.Y.S.2d 222;see Petrone v. Fernandez, 12 N.Y.3d 546, 550, 883 N.Y.S.2d 164, 910 N.E.2d 993;Collier v. Zambito, 1 N.Y.3d 444, 446, 775 N.Y.S.2d 205, 807 N.E.2d 254;Roche v. Bryant, 81 A.D.3d 707, 916 N.Y.S.2d 185;Ayres v. Martinez, 74 A.D.3d 1002, 902 N.Y.S.2d 668;Hodgson–Romain v. Hunter, 72 A.D.3d 741, 899 N.Y.S.2d 300). “Evidence tending to prove that a dog has vicious propensities includes a prior attack, the dog's tendency to growl, snap, or bare its teeth, the manner in which the dog was restrained, [the fact that the dog was kept as a guard dog,] and a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm” ( Hodgson–Romain v. Hunter, 72 A.D.3d at 741, 899 N.Y.S.2d 300;see Bard v. Jahnke, 6 N.Y.3d 592, 597, 815 N.Y.S.2d 16, 848 N.E.2d 463;Feit v. Wehrli, 67 A.D.3d 729, 888 N.Y.S.2d 214; Galgano v. Town of N. Hempstead, 41 A.D.3d 536, 840 N.Y.S.2d 794).

The defendants separately established their respective prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on their respective motions by demonstrating, through their deposition testimony, as well as the plaintiff's, that they “were not aware, nor should they have been aware, that this dog had ever bitten anyone or exhibited any aggressive behavior” ( Christian v. Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc., 54 A.D.3d 707, 708, 863 N.Y.S.2d 756;see Collier v. Zambito, 1 N.Y.3d at 447, 775 N.Y.S.2d 205, 807 N.E.2d 254;Hodgson–Romain v. Hunter, 72 A.D.3d at 741, 899 N.Y.S.2d 300;Claps v. Animal Haven, Inc., 34 A.D.3d 715, 716, 825 N.Y.S.2d 125). Indeed, the defendants testified that they had no knowledge that the dog involved in this alleged attack on the plaintiff had ever growled at, chased, bitten, or attacked anyone prior to the subject incident ( see Hodgson–Romain v. Hunter, 72 A.D.3d at 741, 899 N.Y.S.2d 300).

The plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition. The Supreme Court erred in considering the affidavit of the plaintiff's father, a nonparty witness, as he was not properly disclosed as a notice witness in the plaintiff's discovery responses ( see Rizos v. Galini Seafood Rest., 89 A.D.3d 1004, 933 N.Y.S.2d 703;Muniz v. New York City Hous. Auth., 38 A.D.3d 628, 831 N.Y.S.2d 513;Williams v. ATA Hous. Corp., 19 A.D.3d 406, 407, 796 N.Y.S.2d 128;Concetto v. Pedalino, 308 A.D.2d 470, 470–471, 764 N.Y.S.2d 638;Andujar v. Benenson Inv. Co., 299 A.D.2d 503, 750 N.Y.S.2d 636).

Accordingly, the Supreme Court should have granted the defendants' separate motions for summary judgment.


Summaries of

Henry v. Higgins

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
May 14, 2014
987 N.Y.S.2d 72 (N.Y. App. Div. 2014)
Case details for

Henry v. Higgins

Case Details

Full title:Jon M. HENRY, respondent, v. Anne Marie HIGGINS, et al., appellants.

Court:Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

Date published: May 14, 2014

Citations

987 N.Y.S.2d 72 (N.Y. App. Div. 2014)
117 A.D.3d 796
2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 3489

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