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Mammarelli v. Anastasio

A-4985-01T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003) (Unpublished)

LANDOWNER’S LIABILITY—A landlord who is unaware of a dog previously biting or attacking anyone or having such a propensity is not liable to a visitor who is attacked by that dog.

A copier repairman sued the landlord of an office building for injuries he sustained when he was bitten by a tenant’s rottweiler. The repairman claimed that the landlord knew that the tenant’s dog was vicious and should have warned invitees to beware of the dog. The lower court granted the landlord’s motion for summary judgment, holding that a landlord can be liable only for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog if it knew of the dog’s vicious propensities. In this case, the landlord was aware that the dog had a loud bark, but, because he was unaware of the dog’s attacking or biting anyone, he could not be liable for the repairman’s injuries. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court agreed that the landlord could not be held liable for the injuries in this case, especially when the attack took place in the tenant’s space.

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