A $300,000 settlement has been announced for the family of a 9-year-old Pennsylvania girl whose nose was partially bitten off by a neighbor’s Pit Bull two and a half years ago.
Attorney Thomas J. Newell, who represented the family, announced that a lawsuit was filed against the dog owners in April by Andrew and Melissa Boyd of Fairfield, on behalf of their daughter.
The Boyd’s daughter was only 7 years old at the time of the attack. She had gone next door to the home of neighbors Richard and Joyce Sprouse on April 13, 2011, to play with the couple’s daughter.
The young girl knocked on the screen door, and Richard Sprouse told her to come into the house, the complaint states.
As she started to open the door, one of the family’s three Pit Bulls, named Chaos, charged and attacked her without warning, biting off a portion of her nose and causing a severe laceration on her right cheek.
The local police chief was part of the team of first responders that arrived at the residence. He was able to save the nose, and the girl was immediately transported to a hospital in Maryland for surgery.
“A significant portion of [the girl’s] nostril was amputated—just bitten off in the attack,” Newell said,
“A portion of the nose was eventually reattached, but the child also has had to undergo 23 separate, two-hour sessions in a hyperbaric chamber designed to regrow the damaged tissue, the attorney explained.
The nose isn’t fully formed at that young age, so the reconstruction process can’t be completed until the little girl is older. A third surgery is scheduled to take place at that time, attorney Newell said.
“Obviously, every time she looks in the mirror she sees it,” Newell said of the injury.
The girl is also continually asked what happened to her nose, he said, which also has a tremendous influence on her not being able to just have a normal childhood.
However, punitive damages are rarely awarded, attorney Newell explained.
The girl’s family will receive a total of $287,650 after attorney’s fees, medical expenses and subrogation costs are paid.
He said a structured settlement annuity will be set up whereby the girl will receive that money in payments given out over a four-year period beginning when she turns 18. The money will hopefully be used to pay for the girl’s college education, he added.
Attorney Newell said his practice niche is dog bites, and he has represented attack victims from 19 different counties in Pennsylvania. The insurance company agreed to pay the full amount of its client’s policy soon after the lawsuit was filed, Newell said.
The settlement was approved on Nov. 5 by Adams County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Campbell.
Source: Penn Record