Mentally Disabled Man Awarded $300,000 Settlement After Police Dog Attack.

A dog’s owner is generally liable for injuries caused by his or her pet. So long as the injured party was not trespassing, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog, the owner is strictly liable.

Injuries from dog bites are fairly common. However, one would assume that police dogs are better behaved than an average family dog. In fact, people are often under the presumption that police dogs are properly trained and will not attack a person for no apparent reason.

According to reports, however, James Smith, an 18-year-old mentally disabled man, was roughhousing with some friends when he was attacked by a police dog. Officer Houston Stephens was driving by when he noticed the men, so he pulled up in his police cruiser, exited the car and tackled Smith. Stephens then allegedly handcuffed and hit Smith several times before instructing his K9 partner to attack Smith. Mr. Smith was lying face down on the ground in handcuffs when the police dog was ordered to attack. Mr. Smith’s friends yelled multiple times that he was mentally disabled, but police did not pull the K-9 off of Smith for over a minute. He suffered cuts, lacerations, scrapes and deep puncture wounds to his neck and face.

Officer Stephens reportedly has been involved in a series of lethal and non-lethal shootouts during his tenure with the Stockton, California Police Department, and has been vilified by the community for his apparent use of excessive force. There have even been protests by local activist against the police department. The lawsuit alleges multiple violations of Smith’s Fourth Amendments rights, including excessive force, malicious prosecution, and illegal search and seizure. Mr. Smith’s attorney, Chris Dolan, was able to secure a settlement with the City of Stockton in the amount of $307, 500 in damages for his client’s injuries and pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to a dog bite or dog attack, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. The money you receive may go towards medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Our Massachusetts dog bite lawyer specialists are ready and willing to hear about your potential claim now. Please call us 24/7 at 617-787-3700, or email us at to discuss your claim with our expert attorneys.


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