As realtor Robert Fenlon, 50, approached a house that he was scheduled to show to prospective buyers, homeowner Mary Kay James, opened the door and let her three unleashed dogs out into the yard. The dogs chased Fenlon and one of them jumped on his chest and knocked him to the ground.
During the assault, James stayed in her house and did not call the dogs back. She only came out of the house when police summoned her and paramedics were treating Fenlon.
Fenlon suffered a broken wrist that required an external fixator and surgery that cost around $39,000 in medical expenses. Due to the permanent injury to his wrist, Fenlon could no longer work as an air conditioner repairman making around $32 and hour. Fenlone is unable to earn the same amount as before the injury and estimated his loss of income between $256,000 and $512,000.
Fenlon sued James, alleging she failed to control her dogs when she knew they had violent tendencies and failed to keep reasonable control over them as required by state law.Before the accident, James had been cited three times for allowing her dogs to escape, preventing neighbors from leaving their homes. Police also recorded aggressiveness in the dogs when they previously visited the house and witnessed one dog nipping at a child.
James argued that the dogs never bite Fenlon and that he was negligent in knocking on the bay window rather than the front door and kicking one of the dogs.
Fenlon was awarded $273,100. After he filed a motion for delay damages of $54,900, the parties settled on $300,000 plus costs.