Firefighters’ Rule prompts dismissal of action against property owner for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog.

Firefighters’ Rule prompts dismissal of action against property owner for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog.

Congratulations to Paul Bessette and Lisa Pan on another MSJ victory.  In Whiting v, Buxton, Alameda County Superior Court, an on-duty Alameda County firefighter sued for personal injuries against the owners of rental property.  The plaintiff was responding to a fire on the property.  ACFD rescued numerous dogs owned by the tenants on the premises and escorted one of them across the street, entrusting it to the care of the tenant’s minor daughter.  While the plaintiff was attempting to question the minor, the dog lunged at him causing severe facial injuries.  Plaintiff firefighter sued the landlords of the premises alleging that the fire was caused by electrical defects in the premises and for the injuries caused by the dog. His wife joined asserting a claim for loss of consortium. The County served notice of lien in the amount of $326,000.  Defendant landlords prevailed on motion to strike the allegations regarding the alleged electrical defects/cause of the fire based upon the firefighter’s rule.  Thereafter, they filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that they had no notice that the tenants harbored a dangerous dog on the premises.  Following discovery, including depositions of the landlord and his assistant, Plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the action with prejudice and for a waiver of costs 

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