Dog Bites

Written by John C. Cabaniss

In Wisconsin, § 174.02(1), Stats., provides that the owner or keeper of a dog is responsible for all damages and injuries resulting from dog bites. If a dog has bitten previously, a victim is entitled to double actual damages. To further review the facts and circumstances of a recent dog bite prosecuted by Cabaniss Law


Plaintiff, Mark, by his attorney, John C. Cabaniss, for his complaint against defendants American Family Mutual Insurance Company and Stephen F. Fote alleges as follows:

1. Plaintiff, Mark, is an adult residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

2. Defendant, American Family Mutual Insurance Company ("American Family"), is a domestic insurance company, organized and existing under the laws of the State of Wisconsin, with its principal place of business located at 6000 American Parkway, Madison, Wisconsin, 53783; that the registered agent in Wisconsin for the defendant, American Family, is Christopher S. Spencer, also located at 6000 American Parkway, Madison, Wisconsin, 53783; that the defendant, American Family, is engaged in the business of writing and selling insurance, and that on the date of the incident at issue, American Family had in force and effect a policy of insurance which provides coverage for plaintiff's claims in this matter.

3. Defendant, American Family, seeks customers by promising "Pursue your dreams. We will protect them."

4. At all times pertinent to issues in this matter, defendant, Stephen F. Fote, was acting within the scope of his authority as agent of American Family and he promised "As your American Family agent, I believe there is more to insurance than the policy itself. It's about providing dependable protection and service. That's why earning your trust is my policy."

5. On November 17, 2010, at about 1:15 p.m., plaintiff Mark went to American Family's offices located at 5300 S. 108th Street, Suite 4, Hales Corners, Wisconsin 53130, seeking to insure his fiancés engagement ring and necklace. Upon entry to the offices instead of protection he was attacked and bitten on the penis by an English Bulldog named Frank.

6. The English Bulldog Frank which bit plaintiff was owned and kept by defendant Stephen Fote.

7. Defendant Stephen Fote's English Bulldog Frank had previously attacked and bitten a dog and person on July 23, 2010 in the elevator at defendant's apartment building.

8. Defendants Stephen Fote and American Family are liable pursuant to § 174.02 Stats. to plaintiff for double damages as plaintiff was bitten after notice

9. As a result of the dog bite described herein, plaintiff has an incurred past medical expenses and past pain, suffering and disability, all to his damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff demands judgment against defendants Stephen F. Fote and American Family for compensatory damages, double damages, attorney's fees, costs and such further relief as the court may deem just and equitable.