Landlord Can Be Liable in Dog Bite Case Per South Carolina Court

August 25, 2011

South Carolina’s Supreme Court has unanimously agreed to let a lower court decide if a landlord is liable for damages in a dog bite case.

The Supreme Court’s decision Monday says landlords could be found liable for a dog bite in a common area.

The Sumter County case involved a 2-year-old who had $17,000 in medical bills in 2003 after being bitten by a dog kept on a chain in a common area of an apartment complex. The dog had been kept there for 10 years and the landlord knew the dog had previously attacked someone.

A circuit judge in Sumter had dismissed the case because South Carolina law generally shields landlords from liabilities that their tenants create.

The case now heads back to the circuit court in Sumter.

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