In a recent Texas dog bite decision, the plaintiff sued after suffering injuries from a dog bite. The case arose in 2013 when he went with his girlfriend to the defendants’ house to meet the girlfriend’s father, who was staying with the defendants. He didn’t know the defendants, and the defendants didn’t know that either the plaintiff or his girlfriend were planning to come by the house.
The plaintiff and his girlfriend stood on the front porch and knocked. Nobody was home. After some time, the girlfriend opened the unlocked front door. The defendants’ dog, who was a 22-month-old Akita, came to the door. The plaintiff had stayed on the front porch and tried to shut the door when he saw the Akita. The dog went through the open door and bit him. Even though he was bitten, the plaintiff pushed the dog back into the house and shut the door. He had to go to the hospital.
He sued the defendants for negligent handling of an animal and for strict liability for a dangerous domesticated animal. He added negligence theories to an amended complaint. He claimed they were negligent per se for violating a duty set forth under section 822.042 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and that they should be held liable under premises liability law. He later amended again to add negligence per se. The trial court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion.