Couple Awarded $1.2M for Dog Theft
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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