Hall & Evans’ attorneys Peter M. Damrow and Brian L. Taylor recently obtained a complete defense verdict following a three-day jury trial in the Fourth Judicial District Court of Montana. The Plaintiff claimed she suffered serious personal injuries after attempting to break up a dog fight that occurred in front of her house between her dog and the defendant’s dog who was being walked on a leash. The Plaintiff argued the defendant was strictly liable under a Montana statute imposing strict liability on individuals for dog bites unless the bite was provoked and liable under an alternative theory of negligence for the defendant’s alleged failure to control his dog during the incident. The jury found the plaintiff failed to prove the defendant’s dog actually bit her, that the defendant acted reasonably under the circumstances, and returned a complete defense verdict in less than two hours.

This case was one of the first – if not the very first – to be tried pursuant to a new expedited case management system in Montana that guarantees litigants a trial date in less than six months. The case was also tried to a live jury while navigating various restrictions and limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.