Category Archives: Animals

Rider Falls From Horse on County-Operated Amusement Park Carousel

Was County Liable For Injuries to70 Year Old With Pacemaker?

Dennis Cannizzaro and his wife sued Westchester County to recover damages for personal injuries he allegedly sustained after falling off the “Derby Racer,” an amusement park ride that is owned and operated by the County. The Derby Racer had been in operation since 1928, and was described as a fast-moving carousel with wooden horses that move up and down as the ride spins around a stationary center console. Riders were instructed to place their feet into stirrups located on each side of the wooden horse and to lean to the left, towards the center console, so as to counteract the centrifugal force created as the ride spinned. Each horse was also equipped with a metal handlebar for the rider to hold. Cannizzaro, who was 70 years old at the time of the accident and had a pacemaker, testified at his deposition that he had ridden the Derby Racer on at least two prior occasions before the day of the accident without incident, but that on that day he was unable to hold himself on the wooden horse he had chosen and was “thrown” to the right onto the walkway that surrounds the Derby Racer when the ride reached “full speed.”

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Newhouse “Bucked” Off Horse While Riding at Chase Meadow

Who Was Liable to Newhouse For Her Equestrian- Related Injuries?

Stephanie Kelly-Newhouse sued Chase Meadows Farm, LLC, Martini & Associates LLC and Rhianon LLC for damages for personal injuries she sustained  while riding her horse in an outside ring on the equestrian facility owned by Chase Meadows and leased to Rhiannon, with which she boarded her horse. Newhouse alleged that she fell off her horse, which was allegedly spooked by objects allegedly being thrown off a building owned by Chase Meadows on which Martini was allegedly performing work.  All of the defendants made motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

In support of its motion, Martini offered the deposition testimonies of the parties. Newhouse testified that she was boarding one of her horses at Chase Meadows for about a month prior to the accident. Rhiannon was running the equestrian program at Chase Meadows. While she was riding the horse in the ring, an unknown roofer that she could not identify, purportedly threw building debris off the roof while she was on the horse, which made a very loud sound, causing the horse to be startled and to leap sideways.

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Dog Bite Discovery Imbroglio at Lakeside of Bedford Condominium

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Decides If Email From Management Company & Attorneys Was Privileged

Michele and John Kijek sought an order compelling the Board of Managers of Lakeside of Bedford Condominium (“BMLBC”) and Katonah Management Group, Inc. (“KMG”) to disclose: (1) complete and unredacted copies of any and all emails between the Condominium and Shapiro, Gettinger Waldinger & Montelone, LLP (including all attorneys and/or employees of such law firm, including but not limited to Steven Waldinger and Jennifer Catalanotto) and the Management Group (including but not limited to Andrea Morse, Stephen Brussels, Bryan Hao, Dean Sterino, Jeanne Casarini and Sylvia Padrevita for the year of 2016), and (2) that a search be performed in the email history of Andrea Morse, Jeanne Cassarini, Stephen Brussels, Sylvia Padrevita, Rosemary Capone, Jim Stakebake, Jerry Moskowitz, Laurie Hilliard, and Bill Lang for any emails related to the incidents described in the complaint.

The Kijek’s alleged that Lynn West and Stanley West were tenants of Jane McConnell, the owner of condominium Unit 1005 and asserted that, on July 29, 2016, the Wests owned a certain dog named Harrison or “Harry” which attacked their daughter, Sydney Woodard, and their dog known as “Cooper” in the vicinity of the Wests’ condominium, causing her injuries and injuries to “Cooper.” On October 1, 2016, the Wests’ dog attacked Michele Kijek causing her personal injuries.

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Cyclist Injured in Central Park When Hit by Dog Playing Fetch

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Canine’s Owner Liable for Negligence or Otherwise?

Scenario: Cyclist riding in Central Park. Owner of off-leash dog playing fetch. Dog chases tennis ball into the road. Bike rider is injured in fall. Litigation ensues.

On April 25, 2019, Joan Decollibus was riding her bicycle through Central Park when a dog named Lola, owned by Barry Schimmel, ran into the bicycle lane and caused Decollibus to fall off her bike. On October 18, 2019, Decollibus sued Schimmel alleging negligence, strict liability, and violations of the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation Leash Law. After the completion of depositions, Schimmel moved for summary judgment dismissing Decollibus’ complaint.

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Altercation with Acquaintance: Man Strikes Small Dog with a Broomstick

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Prosecution Barred by “Choice of Evils” Justification Defense?

Luis Jimenez was indicted on several counts for striking and severely injuring a small dog with a broomstick. Jimenez argued that the indictment should be dismissed because the prosecutor did not charge the grand jury on justification under Penal Law § 35.05(2), the “choice of evils” defense. Was that instruction warranted under the circumstances of the case?

Jimenez was charged with second-degree criminal mischief under Penal Law § 145.10, aggravated cruelty to animals under Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-a, and Overdriving, Torturing, or Injuring an Animal under Agriculture and Markets Law § 353. He testified before the grand jury that J., a former acquaintance, confronted him on a sidewalk and demanded that he repay a $20 debt. When Jimenez refused, J. left and then quickly returned with two metal rods, one in each hand, and threatened to kill him if he did not pay. Jimenez picked up a broom and broke it in half to defend himself as J.’s mother and uncle appeared on the scene. At his mother’s urging, J. turned and began walking away while the uncle began “tussling” with Jimenez, attempting to disarm him of the broom handle. As Jimenez was engaged with the uncle, Gigi—a small dog who was in the mother’s care—ran up to him and started biting at his pant leg. While still physically engaged with the uncle, Jimenez swung the broom handle and hit Gigi.

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Every Dog Is Entitled to One Bite

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did “O’Malley” Already Have One or Two?

Amy C. Farrell alleged that she was injured by O’Malley, a vicious dog belonging to Peter M. Boushie. Amy’s husband, Kevin L. Ladue, alleged that he was deprived of his wife’s services, society, and companionship as a result of her injuries. After discovery, Farrell and Ladue moved for summary judgment.

New York’s courts have long recognized that the owner of a dog who either knows or should have known of that animal’s vicious propensities will be held liable for the harm the animal causes as a result of those propensities. Liability in such cases is absolute. It is not dependent upon proof of negligence on the part of the dog’s owner.

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UPS Driver Injured by Dog in Course of Delivery

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Canine Have Known Vicious Propensity to Leap?

Thomas Cinguina was bitten by a dog owned by Gayle Berg while delivering a package to Berg in the course of his employment as a United Parcel Service (UPS) delivery driver. He was injured when he then fell while trying to get away from the dog. Cinguina’s complaint alleged strict liability and negligence or reckless disregard.

Berg moved for summary judgment and submitted the deposition testimony of Cinguina, herself, and her husband. She particularly relied on the portions of Cinguina’s testimony in which he stated that at the time of the incident, Berg’s dog was tied to a five-foot leash on the porch— which he first noticed as he was placing the package on her porch—and that he had not had any problem previously in delivering packages to Berg’s house during the more than three years that he drove that route.

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100+ Pound Bullmastiff (Dynasty) Knocks Down Woman Walking Chihuahua (Eli)

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Were Dynasty’s Owners Liable for Ensuing Injury?

Cathy Orisini sought to recover damages for injuries allegedly sustained on February 14, 2017, when she was knocked down by a dog harbored by Woodrow Cromarty and Danielle Grunert outside their home on Columbus Avenue in West Babylon, New York. Orsini alleged that Cromarty/Grunert were negligent in failing to secure and allowing the dog to attack her, when they knew, or should have known, of the dog’s vicious propensities.

According to her deposition testimony, Orsini was walking her son’s Chihuahua, named Eli, past the property owned by Cromarty on February 14, 2017, when a one-hundred-plus pound Bullmastiff, named Dynasty, allegedly escaped from the fenced yard and knocked her to the ground, causing injury to her head and both wrists.

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Juno and Josie Joust in Chatham

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Patiently Parses Pet Peeves

On October 27, 2018, Julie Hickson was walking her dog, Juno, through a neighborhood in the town of Chatham, Columbia County, when she approached a residence located at 144 Hudson Avenue. The residence was owned by Fredda Brown, who leased a portion of it to her daughter, Leah Brown-Oliva.

Brown-Oliva had just exited the residence with her own dog, Josie, who was secured by a retractable leash. As Brown-Oliva was closing the door behind her, Josie began running toward Hickson and Juno, pulling the retractable leash out of Brown-Oliva’s grasp. Josie and Juno quickly became engaged in a fight, as Hickson and Brown-Oliva attempted to separate the dogs. During the struggle, the retractable leash that was still attached to Josie became wrapped around Hickson’s legs, and she fell to the ground. Eventually, the dogs were separated, and Hickson and Juno walked away. Hickson later went to an urgent care center, where she was found to have fractures in both of her hands.

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Neighbor Injured When Dog Next Door Attacks Her Pets

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Decides if Viable Claim is Asserted

Maria Grajeda sued Karin Hablo, as administrator of the estate of David B. Sulyma, after an incident involving a dog attack on September 20, 2014 in front of the Grajedas’ home in Chester, New York.

On September 20, 2014, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Maria Grajeda was on her front porch with her two dogs, Charlie and Sandy. David B. Sulyma lived next door with his two golden retrievers. Sulyma’s two golden retrievers approached Grajeda’s porch and started barking at her dogs. Sandy ran to the door of Grajeda’s home, and was let inside. As Sandy was let inside, Charlie was attacked by Sulyma’s dogs. Grajeda grabbed one of the dogs by the collar and attempted to separate them, but the attacks continued. As Grajeda attempted to grab Charlie, one of Sulyma’s dogs put his paws on her shoulder, causing her to fall to the ground on her right side. She continued her attempts to get Charlie, but the dogs “were pulling [her] and pulling Charlie” toward Sulyma’s property. She fell “a couple times” as she attempted to intervene in the attack.

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