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Two Tales of Premises Liability

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Van Nuys, CATwo distinctly different incidents in the state of California both speak to issues of Los Angeles Premises Liability. One is the escape of a dog from the dog owner's property that resulted in a dog bite, but also ended in tragic circumstances. The other liability case involved the slip and fall of a senior. Both incidents resulted in legal action.

In one case, the surviving family of an Alzheimer's patient who died after a fall has launched a lawsuit against Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. The complaint alleges premises liability California, elder abuse, neglect and wrongful death, among other allegations.

According to a March 15 summary by City News Service, Carrie Delay had lived at the facility for nearly a decade. Just prior to the incident in question, the 89-year-old had attended a church activity conducted on the first floor of the facility. Following the activity, Delay was taken up to her room located on the second floor.

According to her legal counsel, Delay was deposited at a table outside of her room, when—allegedly in full view of nursing staff and a nursing station—the elderly woman made her way to a landing and fell between the second and first floors. Her injuries included a severe spinal fracture as well as several cuts and contusions.

She died a week later.

The premises liability California lawsuit was filed Valentine's Day in Van Nuys Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges that Delay fell nearly 300 feet. It is also alleged the elderly woman would have had to pass by the nurses station and through a fire door she was allegedly not capable of opening herself, in order to access the landing where she fell.

The incident occurred October 17 of last year.

In a separate case that relates to dog bite law California, a former Los Angeles County assistant fire chief was pitted against the owners of a six-month-old German Shepherd that was allegedly beaten to death by a man using a rock.

According to the alleged victim of a dog bite, a German Shepherd puppy had escaped from an enclosed area on the owner's property and ran into her neighbor's yard. The neighbor, Glynn Johnson, claimed to be returning the dog when the puppy bit into his thumb. Johnson was subsequently convicted on a felony animal cruelty charge after beating the dog with a rock, allegedly to force the dog to release his hand.

The dog had to be euthanized.

The owners of the dog filed a lawsuit against Johnson, alleging he had purposefully let the dog out of the enclosure for the express purpose of doing her harm. Johnson countersued alleging defamation of character and sought damages under dog bite law California, alleging he suffered a broken bone and permanent nerve damage in his hand.

In the end, Johnson was ordered to pay the $1,338 in veterinarian bills required to assess the dog's injuries. The owners had asked for $250,000 and told the Press Enterprise of Riverside, California, that they and their former neighbor had settled, although court records indicate both lawsuits were dismissed.

One wonders if the tragedy might have been avoided, were Los Angeles Premises Liability guidelines followed and the dog remained in its enclosure. That said, there was some dispute as to how the dog escaped in the first place.

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