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Bessent v. Matthews - Lessor Liability for a Bite by a Tenant's Dog

Personal Injury News Items

It is sometimes possible in a dog bite case to make a claim against a landlord (or an AOAO) as well as against the owner of the dog. A property owner has a duty to warn of latent or concealed defects on the property of which the owner knows or should have knowledge. Kole v. AMFAC, Inc., 69 Haw. 530, 533, 750 P.2d 929, 931 (1988). See also, Gelber v. Sheraton-Hawaii Corp., 49 Haw. 327, 329, 417 P.2d 638, 639 (1966). A case out of Florida applies this logic to a dangerous dog in a dog bite case - see, Bessent v. Matthews, 543 So.2d 438 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1989). The Bessent case held that a landlord may be liable for injuries caused by a dog belonging to a tenant if the landlord had the ability to remove or abate the hazard and the actual knowledge of a dog's vicious propensities.


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Accident Lawyer Hawaii

William H. Lawson, Esq. and
Amy L. Woodward, Esq.

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1188 Bishop St. Suite 2902
Honolulu, HI 96813

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Pearl City, Aiea and Waipahu:
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In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, No. 16-466 (June 19, 2017), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a state court does not generally have specific personal jurisdiction to entertain class-action claims by non-resident plaintiffs against a company headquartered outside of the forum state (here Bristol-Myers Squibb was not based in California). In future class action claims against nationwide corporate defendants, it appears that the U.S. Supreme Court is generally requiring piecemeal litigation in each state where a plaintiff was injured, instead of allowing for a single consolidated class action in a single state court lawsuit.

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