Holloway v. Leech, 011019 OHCA10, 18AP-02

Docket Nº:18AP-02
Opinion Judge:HORTON, J.
Party Name:Nicole Holloway, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. James Leech et al., Defendants-Appellees, Larry Kirk, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Slater & Zurz, LLP, and Mark A. Ropchock, for appellee. Larry Kirk, pro se. Mark A. Ropchock. Larry Kirk.
Judge Panel:TYACK and BRUNNER, JJ., concur.
Case Date:January 10, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of Ohio
 
FREE EXCERPT

2019-Ohio-43

Nicole Holloway, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

James Leech et al., Defendants-Appellees,

Larry Kirk, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 18AP-02

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

January 10, 2019

APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 16CV-9973

On brief:

Slater & Zurz, LLP, and Mark A. Ropchock, for appellee.

Larry Kirk, pro se.

Argued:

Mark A. Ropchock.

Larry Kirk.

DECISION

HORTON, J.

{¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Larry Kirk, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas finding him jointly and severally liable with James Leech for the injury to plaintiff-appellee, Nicole Holloway, caused by a dog on February 6, 2016, with Kirk as the owner and James Leech as the keeper of the dog. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

{¶ 2} Appellee Holloway rented a single family home from appellant Kirk. Laura Hutchinson lived with Holloway. Leech rented the house next door to Holloway and Hutchinson, also from Kirk. Leech had two dogs living with him. On February 6, 2016, Leech let one of the dogs, Kane, into his yard and the second dog escaped from the house without a collar or a leash. The second dog jumped the fence into Holloway's back yard. Holloway testified she was outside with her dogs and, when she heard the dogs next door were outside, she attempted to get her dogs back inside. Holloway testified that the second dog she knew as "Rusty," was a brown and white pit bull. Rusty attacked her leg as she attempted to go up the steps to her back porch. She sustained a serious bite to her lower left calf. She still had a scar that was approximately 4 x 4 inches at the trial. She had $31, 000 in medical bills and still used daily medication for the permanent damage to the nerves in her leg. Holloway testified that Kirk had previously told her he had owned Rusty but Rusty had bitten two people and so Kirk "chose to move him to the ghetto, cause who cares if it bites somebody in the hood" and Kirk told her Leech had an issue with the previous neighbors so Kirk gave him Rusty for protection. (Oct. 23, 2017 Tr. at 79.)

{¶ 3} Hutchinson testified that she lived with Holloway and that morning they were taking the dogs outside. Whenever Holloway and Hutchinson would hear the dogs outside next door, they would move their dogs back inside because Rusty was "vicious." (Tr. at 100-01.) Hutchinson testified that Rusty jumped over the fence and she was able to get her dogs back in her house but, when she turned around, Rusty latched onto Holloway's leg. Hutchinson kicked Rusty with her steel-toed boots and stood between Rusty and Holloway. (Tr. at 100.) Hutchinson called for an ambulance immediately but the emergency responders could not enter the backyard because Leech could not contain the dog. (Tr. at 102-03.) Hutchinson also testified that Kirk told her he had given Rusty to Leech and Rusty had bitten two people when Rusty lived in Hilliard with Kirk. (Tr. at 105.)

{¶ 4} Leech testified that a man from the neighborhood gave him two dogs from the same litter, Rusty and Rosco. Leech gave Rusty to Iren Fillinger, the brother of Aaron Fillinger, who worked for Kirk. Someone gave Leech the dog, named Kane, the night before Holloway and Hutchinson moved in next door. Leech does not believe his dog bit Holloway because by the time he entered Holloway's yard, the bite had already occurred. He testified he used his belt to remove his dog from her yard.

{¶ 5} Aaron Fillinger testified that he works as a property manager/maintenance for Kirk. In spring 2013, his brother, Iren, had two dogs, Rusty and Kane. Iren moved and gave Rusty to Kirk and Kane to Leech.

{¶ 6} Finally, Kirk testified. He stated that there were two dogs from the same litter, and he had one, Rusty, and Leech had Rosco, who was not an aggressive dog. However, he argues that Rosco was the dog that bit Holloway. Kirk denied having a conversation with Hutchinson regarding dogs but admitted he told...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP