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Couple Awarded $1.2M for Dog Theft

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Nicholas Wills5 years ago

One couple was awarded $1.2M in damages after their neighbor sued them after stealing their dog.

Not Very Neighborly

  • In November of 2009, a neighborhood dispute came to a climax when the plaintiff was arrested for allegedly stealing the defendants’ dog.
  • The plaintiff denied stealing defendants’ dog, and claimed that the defendants filed the charges maliciously due to a property dispute.
  • After the arrest, the plaintiff sued defendants for slander, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • In response, the defendants filed a counterclaim for intentional infliction of emotional distress – arguing that the plaintiff refused to return the dog when asked, and had done other things to cause stress to the couple.

Plaintiff’s Case Backfires

  • It was shown that the plaintiff previously committed criminal acts, resulting in two criminal trespassing convictions, to harass the defendants over the property dispute.
  • Although plaintiff denied intentional infliction of emotional distress, under cross-examination at trial, the plaintiff testified that he had actually intended to cause defendants emotional pain.
Verdict & Damage Awards
  • The jury found for the defendants (the couple) in the case, and awarded:

    • $700,000 for past and future mental anguish; and
    • $750,000 in punitive damages.
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