Gig Harbor woman awarded $2.2 million settlement in pit bull mauling case

The News Tribune of Tacoma reports that Sue Gorman of Gig Harbor, was awarded a $2.2 million damage award by a Pierce County jury after she was seriously injured when two pit bull dogs attacked her in her own home.

Gorman, who was seriously injured with dog bites to her arms, face, neck, chest and nose in 2007, filed a lawsuit against both Pierce County and the owners of the two pit bulls.

Gorman woke up in the bedroom of her home to find the two pit bull dogs mauling her service dog and another dog she was carrying for. She was injured when she tried to save the two dogs. The pit bulls had entered her home through a sliding glass door.

The Pierce County jury found that the county was 42% to blame in the mauling because county animal control office had received numerous reports — 14 in all — that at least one of the dogs was running loose and “terrorizing people.” In fact, Gorman had filed two complaints about the dog previous to the August, 2007 attack.

The jury assigned 52% of the liability to Shellie Wilson and her son, Zachary Marti, owners of one of the pit bull. They also assigned 5% of the liability to Jacqueline Evan-Hubbard who owned the second pit bull that was entrusted to the care of Wilson and Martin.

1% of the liability was assigned to Gorman herself. It is not clear what the jury was thinking here whether it was because Gorman’s door was left open or because she intervened in the attack against her dogs.

Washington state has a dog bite law, 16.08.040 which states that any owner of a dog that bites a a person whether in a public place or in a private place is liable for damages suffered by the victim, regardless of the former viciousness or a dog.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious dog bite injury, you should contact a personal injury attorney who has experience representing dog bite victims. At The Farber Law Group, a Bellevue, Washington based personal injury firm, we have more than 30 years experience in representing dog bite victims. With our help, you may recover compensation for your medical costs, rehabilitation costs and for pain and suffering. 

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Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue to assist you.