April 6, 2017 – Attorney James B. Haddow wins appeal from summary judgment for landlord in action arising from one tenant’s dog biting another tenant’s minor child. A boy who was in his neighbor’s yard because he had been invited there to play was bitten on the leg by the neighbor’s dog. Both the boy and the neighbor were tenants of the same landlord, and the neighbor also worked on an on-call basis for the landlord, though he did no work for the landlord on the day of the dog bite. The boy sued the landlord for the injuries caused by the dog.
The Superior Court granted the landlord’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that the undisputed facts demonstrated that the dog owner was not acting within the scope of any employment relationship with the landlord at the time of the bite, and that there was no basis for assigning any direct liability to the landlord. The boy appealed to the Maine Law Court, and Jim Haddow defended on behalf of the landlord. The appeals court affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court in all respects, ruling that the fact that an employee was on call twenty-four hours a day does not mean that the employee is within the scope of his employment at all times.
The court also determined that no record evidence supported a direct claim of negligence against the landlord. The full text of the Law Court’s opinion in Canney v. Strathglass Holdings, LLC, is available