On March 14, 2015, Alan Laskin began a trial in Sacramento County concerning a woman who was attacked by two dogs. She was knocked down into a drainage ditch on the side of the road. The dogs were run off by a neighbor who rescued our client by pulling her over the fence onto his property.
These dogs were known menaces in the neighborhood and their owner, the defendant, did nothing to protect the public from their violent behavior. The defendant tried to claim that it wasn’t his dogs that perpetrated the attack, but our client was sure they had come from the defendant’s yard. The home insurance company sided with their insured and fought the claim tooth and nail.
Despite multiple anecdotes from neighbors detailing the violent history of the dogs in question, the defense refused to move from their stance of denial. Early on in the case we served an Offer to Compromise Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure 998 for $79,999.99. This is a very serious offer for settlement because to make it or reject it comes with consequences. The offer was rejected.
Right before trial, we made another 998 offer. This time for $39,999.99. Our client did not want to deal with the stress of going to trial and we honored her request to try and settle the case. It was no use though, the defendant’s attorney rejected that offer as well.
During trial, the defendant continued to claim that our client was lying. He then stated that every witness that testified against him was lying, including the neighbor that saved our client. We had to subpoena practically the whole neighborhood, but everyone was in agreement that the defendant’s dogs were violent and uncontrolled. The defendant’s attitude that he just didn’t care that his dogs had injured this woman came across to the jury and in the end, they sided with our client.
Alan even had a very “Perry Mason” moment. While questioning the veterinarian hired by the defense to say it couldn’t have been the defendant’s dog that bit our client because of the dog’s poor health, it was revealed that the subject dog was missing a tooth. The vet testified that it would have a different bite pattern than a dog with all of its teeth. Alan then showed a picture of one of the puncture wounds on the client and asked her if it would look like this (the picture showed two punctures, a space, and then a third puncture). The vet agreed that a bite mark from the defendant’s dog would look like the picture. We believe that was the nail in the coffin moment for the jury. There was no doubt that it was the defendant’s dogs that attacked.
The Law Offices of Laskin Balma always endeavors to do right by our clients. In this case, our client did not want to go to trial and would have accepted a much lower amount to avoid the stress. We made the offer on her behalf and she was incredibly fortunate that the defense did not take it. At trial the truth prevailed and the jury awarded $165,000.00 over what our client would have accepted.