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Case of the Month
November 2008

Case Overview

Jennifer Marie Harris, Appellant, v. Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Respondent

Sleuber, a dog owned by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, was left to board at a veterinary clinic while the dog’s handler, an officer with the Sheriff’s office, was on vacation. While at the clinic, Sleuber severely injured Jennifer Marie Harris, who was a veterinary technologist at the clinic.

Ms. Harris filed this action against the Sheriff’s office in the Anderson County Court of Common Pleas (circuit court). Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The circuit court judge denied Ms. Harris’ motion for summary judgment, but granted the motion filed by the Sheriff’s office, finding the Sheriff’s office did not have control of Sleuber or the premises at the time of the attack.

Ms. Harris filed an appeal in the South Carolina Court of Appeals. The appeal was transferred to the South Carolina Supreme Court. Ms. Harris argues the circuit court should have found the Sheriff’s office was strictly liable for her injuries, without regard to considerations of fault. Ms. Harris also argues the circuit court erred in construing S.C. Code Ann. § 47-3-110 (1987).1 The appeal will be argued on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, at 10:30 a.m.


1This statute states, “Whenever any person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping, the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked. For the purposes of this section, a person bitten or otherwise attacked is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping, when the person bitten or otherwise attacked is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this State, by the ordinances of any political subdivision of this State, by the laws of the United States of America, including, but not limited to, postal regulations, or when the person bitten or otherwise attacked is on the property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner of the property or of any lawful tenant or resident of the property. If a person provokes a dog into attacking him then the owner of the dog is not liable.”


Case Briefs

Appellant's Final Brief

  Final Brief of Respondent

 


Oral Arguments

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