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$________ Dog Attack – 16-year old bit by dog while sleigh riding in public park – Plaintiff bitten on face and arm; severe bleeding at site on with multiple facial injuries – Portee Jaffee claims asserted.

Bergen County, NJ

The plaintiff contended that he was lawfully engaged in sleigh riding in a state park with his parents and sibling on New Year’s Eve, when he was violently attacked and bitten by a dog owned by defendant. The case was brought under the strict liability dog bite statute.

The plaintiff sustained a 1 sq. cm abrasion of the left upper eyelid, a 5 sq. cm abrasion of his left temple and left upper cheek, a 3.5 sq. cm abrasion of his right medial cheek, a complex 3.5 cm laceration of the right nose with full-thickness loss of skin measuring 1 cm., a complex 3 cm laceration x 1 cm on the left cheek extending toward the nose, and a ________ cm laceration of the left lower medial eyelid. The plaintiff suffered an immediate traumatic ectropion of the left eyelid, where the left lower eyelid was incapable of closing due to muscle loss. The plaintiff also had inability to breathe from the right nostril due to the collapse of the nose from the full-thickness loss of skin on the right dome of the nose, extending laterally toward the right cheek. The abrasions were from the mangling of the face from the dog’s teeth, which had obviously captured both the right and left sides of his face. The plaintiff required immediate surgery. At that time, debridement of the multiple abrasions of the left upper eyelid, left temple, and left upper cheek was done, as well as the 3.5 sq cm abrasion of the right medial cheek. The patient required a complex reconstruction of the nose where the skin was lost, and a restoration of the nasal valve, a well as maintaining the cartilage structure on the right dome of the nose. The ectropion of the lower eyelid was corrected by repairing the appropriate musculature, and the laceration on the cheek was similarly repaired.

The plaintiff had under gone three same day surgeries to reduce scarring. The laceration of plaintiff’s left cheek extended down to the bone. The dog bit through nose and part of it was bitten and torn off. Skin tissue needed to be taken from another part of nose to repair/build up the side of plaintiff’s nose, and required over 50 stitches in his face. The muscle in plaintiff’s lower left eye was detached and had to be reattached. The dog bite was 1 millimeter below left eye. Plaintiffs also claimed damages based upon Portee v. Jaffee, 84 N. J. 88 (________) for negligent inflection of emotional distress.

The plaintiff’s parents and sister – who did not see the actual attack – observed the plaintiff’s injuries arriving at the immediate aftermath and having been in the immediate vicinity of the plaintiff’s injuries and the traumatic event.

In addition to statutory strict liability pursuant to the Dog Bite Statute NJSA 4:19-16, the plaintiffs argued liability for negligence to support the Portee claims, including negligent infliction of severe emotional distress suffered by closely related bystanders, as the plaintiff argued, and that the defendant was aware, or should have been aware, of her dog’s propensity for violence and viciousness, and the defendant failed to properly control and restrain her dog, and allowed her dog to attack and bite the plaintiff. The defense motion for Summary Judgment on the Portee claim was denied.

The defendant’s plastic surgeon contended that the plaintiff made a remarkable recovery, and that only the tip of the plaintiff’s nose exhibited a small scar and that no facial injuries or scarring were visible at conversational distance. The defense also argued that the parents and sibling could not sustain their Portee claims, because none of them actually witnessed the dog attack and biting of the plaintiff, and none met the requisite high threshold for severe long-standing emotional distress. The case settled for $________.

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