A husband and wife are being sued after their dog attacked and tore the ear off of a 6-year-old boy last month in Long Island.
Dr. Deborah Levine, a professor of emergency pediatric medicine at NYU School of Medicine, was walking her 80-pound dog, Archie, around her Port Washington neighborhood on May 18. The dog is also owned by her husband, Dr. Michael Levine, a urologist.
Dr. Levine apparently took her dog a little too close to Philip Sousa Elementary School -- where Andrew Esposito, 6, was watching his brother's baseball game -- despite signs that banned dogs from the area.
Andrew's father, Edward Esposito, 39, said he heard a "horrible noise" and turned around to find his 45-pound son lying face-down and crying, with his detached earlobe lying nearby. He recalled Dr. Levine's next words: "Everything's going to be fine, It's no big deal."
Apparently not. Andrew was taken to St. Francis Hospital for two hours of surgery, which was unsuccessful in reattaching the lobe. Andrew is now in for a string of plastic surgery operations.
He has yet to return to kindergarten and believes his ear will regrow itself.
Esposito has filed suit against the Levines in Nassau Supreme Court.
There are many discussions online about this case. First, there was a posted sign saying dogs were not allowed on school property. Second, it is unclear from news reports whether the little boy antagonized the dog prompting him to turn around and bite the child's ear. Third, there are also conflicting news reports that describe the owner of the dog being lackadaisical in observing this kid's bleeding ear; an unusual scenario, especially when the owner is an emergency room physician.
The Port Washington Patch, an online newspaper devoted to local activities in Port Washington, reported recently on this incident. That article generated 84 comments. Lots of neighbors and residents from the village of Port Washington chimed in on all sides of the issue, myself included.
Some commenters were critical of the attorney who took the case. Others were critical of the dog owners. Yet others focused on the injury the child received and the fact that he deserved compensation. This is a fascinating look and insight into how an incident like this affects so many of us in our local towns and villages.
More importantly, everybody had a distinct opinion.
Imagine the dilemma that a trial attorney faces now with a cross-section of that same group of people sitting on the jury in Nassau County if this case were to come to trial. Everybody has their own distinct point of view. Everybody has their own beliefs as to what happened and what was done. Obviously, if the owner of the dog had never brought the dog to school, none of this would have happened.
Every trial attorney is faced with these issues at the time of trial. That's why jury selection is so important to try and explore these feelings and opinions when incidents like these occur.
If you would like more information about how accident cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website. If you have legal questions, I invite you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.