The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff’s dog-bite complaint against the landlord (New York City Housing Authority [NYCHA]) should not have been dismissed. Plaintiff alleged she was returning to her building after walking her dog when she was bitten by an unleashed pit bull owned by another resident of the building:
To hold a defendant landlord liable for injuries sustained in a dog bite incident, the plaintiff must establish the landlord’s knowledge of the dog’s presence, and its vicious propensities … . Knowledge of vicious propensities may be established by proof of prior acts of a similar kind of which the defendant had notice … .
Here, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff as the nonmoving party, the record presents triable issues of fact regarding NYCHA’s notice of the dog’s presence and its vicious propensities. NYCHA’s manager at the subject building testified that NYCHA had no knowledge of prior dog bite incidents. However, NYCHA’s internal records show that a dog bite occurred at the building about three months prior to the attack on plaintiff. While that internal document does not identify the dog or its owner involved in the prior attack and NYCHA’s manager stated that NYCHA does not keep records of complaints involving vicious animals, plaintiff testified that she had seen third-party defendant with the dog on several prior occasions, and that the dog acted aggressively … . Almodovar v New York City Hous. Auth., 2019 NY Slip Op 08129, First Dept 11-12-19