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Girl bitten by dog reaches settlement with owners

The family of a northwest Missouri child bitten in the face by a loose dog settled a lawsuit against the pet’s owners for more than $150,000.

Katie Loralye Leivan, 4, of Maryville was playing in her grandparents’ yard in the Nodaway County town of Clearmont on Aug. 17, 2017, when she and another child were approached by Klondike, a 60-pound Appenzeller mountain dog.

When the girl approached the dog, the animal bit here on the right side of the face, according to a May 29, 2018 lawsuit in Nodaway County Circuit Court. The attack occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m.

St. Louis plaintiff’s attorney Joseph R. Hillebrand of Brown & Crouppen said the girl lost her right earlobe and needed 25 stitches to suture the wound. She also suffered small lacerations and puncture wounds on her face and right eyelid, he said.

The suit alleged that owners Brandon Dougherty and Hailey L. Newton “knew or should have known the dog was vicious and showed a propensity to bite” other people or animals, Hillebrand said, though the complaint did not mention any specific prior incidents. The complaint also faulted the defendants for allowing their pet to run loose.

The defense involved an assertion that the child “antagonized” the dog while the plaintiffs failed to timely treat the child’s injuries or follow proscribed medical treatment plans, as well as “artificially and unnecessarily” inflating the amount of damages, according to Hillebrand, the lawsuit and defense attorney Jeffrey S. Nichols.

A settlement agreement was tentatively reached in August, said Hillebrand and Nichols, with Circuit Judge Roger M. Prokes approving the $152,400 minor settlement on Nov. 6, 2018, online court records show. The girl will receive slightly more than $90,000 through a structured settlement, with attorneys’ fees accounting for the balance.

$152,400 settlement

Personal injury

Case Number/Date: 18ND-CC00104/Nov. 6, 2018

Judge: Roger Prokes

Insurance: Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co. (for Dougherty)

Caption: Katie Leivan, minor, by and through her natural father and next friend, Steven Leivan v. Brandon Dougherty and Hailey L. Newton

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Joseph R. Hillebrand and Michael Kopit, Brown & Crouppen, St. Louis

Defendants’ Attorneys: Jeffrey S. Nichols and Mark D. Ware, Wallace Saunders, Overland Park, Kansas