Woman Awarded Damages in Dog Bite Suit

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

By Jim Kinney
The Saratogian

BALLSTON SPA - A jury in Ballston Spa awarded a Gansevoort woman $404,366 in damages Monday to settle a four-year-old dog bite case.

Johanna Calabro owns her own house-cleaning business, Crystal Clean II, said her lawyer, Gus P. Fotopoulos. Calabro was cleaning the home of Peter and Carol M. Gallagher Bennett on Patricia Lane in Saratoga Springs on July 8, 1998 when the couple's Siberian husky lunged up and bit her on the face.

The dog was in an enclosed porch, Fotopoulos said.

"My client's contention is that she was meeting the dog for the first time," Fotopoulos said. "The defendant (Peter Bennett) said he was taking the dog out through the house to a side yard."

Fotopoulos said the 40- to 45-pound dog was euthanized a few weeks after the bite. His client was back at work within a week.

"She's a very independent woman," Fotopoulos said. "I think she is someone who the jury could identify with."

Fotopoulos said Calabro suffers numbness, sensitivity and pain in her face despite the best efforts of a plastic surgeon.

"You can't tell the injuries are there," he said.

The jury set Calabro's future pain and suffering at about $300,000, he said.

Fotopoulos said he also had neighbors testify that the Bennetts' dog had lunged at them. He said the jury was out for about two hours.

He tried the case before state Supreme Court Justice Stephen Ferradino.

Fotopoulos is with Larkin, Ingrassia & Tepermayster, LLP of Newburgh.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.