December 5, 2018
to recover damages for personal injuries sustained as a
result of an attack by a dog owned by the defendant, brought
to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford
and tried to the court, Pittman, J.;
judgment for the plaintiff, from which the defendant appealed
to this court. Affirmed.
Grey, for the appellant (defendant).
Katherine L. Matthews, for the appellee (plaintiff).
Bright and Beach, Js.
defendant dog owner, Curtis Travis, appeals from the judgment
of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in
favor of the plaintiff, Camila Coppedge, in this tort action,
commenced pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) §
22-357,  commonly known as the dog bite statute. On
appeal, the defendant claims that (1) ‘‘[t]he
evidence supports a finding that . . . § 22-357 does not
apply as the dog's conduct was innocent, '' and
(2) ‘‘[t]he evidence does not support a finding
of proximate cause.'' We affirm the judgment of the
basis of the evidence presented at trial, the trial court
found the following facts, which it set forth in a July 18,
2017 memorandum of decision. ‘‘On April 14, 2013,
the plaintiff, who worked as a personal care assistant to
elderly and disabled people, was carrying certain items into
a motel room in East Hartford from a motor vehicle. The
defendant, who was a long distance truck driver, was playing
fetch with his dog on a grassy area next to the motel
building. The defendant's dog was a one year old
medium-sized Labra doodle named Lilly, with whom the
defendant sometimes traveled. At the end of their exercise,
the defendant and Lilly intended to return to the motel room
where they were staying. Lilly, with no leash attached,
bounded toward the motel ahead of the defendant.
plaintiff saw Lilly coming, became startled and frightened,
and tripped and fell as she tried to avoid the dog's
advance. Lilly never actually made physical contact with the
plaintiff, but came close and stood over the plaintiff as the
plaintiff lay on the ground.
defendant attempted to help the plaintiff up off the ground
but words were exchanged about the presence of the dog. The
defendant put Lilly in his motel room, away from the
plaintiff, and helpfully called 911 for an ambulance.
was obvious that the plaintiff was injured. She had fallen
backwards with her right arm and wrist under her body as she
landed. The plaintiff was in great pain. She was taken by
ambulance to Manchester Memorial Hospital where she was
examined, x-rayed, and treated. Her right wrist was fractured
in two places. The plaintiff was discharged from the hospital
with a cast on her right wrist.''
court further found ‘‘that the exuberant,
unleashed Lilly was a proximate cause of the plaintiff
falling and injuring herself. There is no dispute that the
defendant was, and still is, the owner and keeper of the dog.
The court finds that the plaintiff has met her burden of
proving all of the essential elements of a claim for damages
under . . . § 22-357.'' Thereafter, on the basis
of the evidence submitted on the question of damages, the
court entered the following damages award, subject to any
applicable collateral source reduction: ‘‘[F]or
physical and emotional pain and suffering, for loss of use of
right hand and wrist for a temporary period during treatment
and rehabilitation, and for current 8 [percent] permanent
partial impairment which the court finds is related to this
incident. Total: $45, 000.'' This appeal followed.
defendant claims that (1) ‘‘[t]he evidence
supports a finding that . . . § 22-357 does not apply as
the dog's conduct was innocent, '' and (2)
‘‘[t]he evidence does not ...