[Nfbc-info] LOS ANGELES Blind man's lawsuit will continue; Case alleges repeated attacks on his guide dog by trucking company's guard dog

tina.thomas90044 at gmail.com tina.thomas90044 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 1 15:54:10 UTC 2018

LOS ANGELES Blind man's lawsuit will continue; Case alleges repeated attacks
on his guide dog by trucking company's guard dog


Blind man's lawsuit will continue; Case alleges repeated attacks on his
guide dog by trucking company's guard dog

By Karen Kidd 

Oct 30, 2018


LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - The case of a blind man and his guide dog
repeatedly attacked by a Bell Gardens, California truck hauling company's

dog is headed back to a Los Angeles court after a three-justice appeals
panel found earlier this month that a demurrer should not have been


California's 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed the Los Angeles County
Superior Court's late-2016 decision and remanded the case Oct. 5. The

Court also ruled that the plaintiff in the case, Oscar Ruiz, was entitled to
recover the costs of his appeal from defendants.


Ruiz, legally blind since childhood, alleges that Musclewood Property
Investments and the company's owner, Edward Lopez, violated his rights under

Disabled Persons Act (DPA) and the Bane Act when their guard dog repeatedly
attacked him and his guide dog, Carbon, over a three-year period. In his

Ruiz claimed the Superior Court was wrong when it sustained a demurrer in
his case without leave to amend.


In its  14-page decision issued Oct. 5

and agreeing that the trail court erred, the appeals court also reversed the
lower court's order that granted the defendants' motion to strike.

Judge Dorothy C. Kim wrote the appeals court's decision in which judges
Lamar W. Baker and Carl H. Moor concurred.


Ruiz claimed the Musclewood Property Investments' guard dog attacked or
growled at his guide dog, Carbon, on six occasions from July 2013 to June

Ruiz complained to Lopez, Musclewood employees and the city's animal control


"Defendants did not act to restrain, control, or prevent their guard dog
from attacking or threatening plaintiff's guide dog, nor did defendants

to keep the gate closed when plaintiff walked by," the decision said.
"Because plaintiff could not see, he could not protect himself or his guide
dog from

the guard dog. As a result of these incidents, plaintiff stopped walking in
front of defendants' business."


Carbon also became fearful of other dogs, aggressive and unable to
consistently perform the duties of a guide dog, the ruling states.  


Ruiz filed his first amended complaint in June 2016. That same month,
defendants demurred, claiming Ruiz failed to allege unequal access claims
and arguing

Ruiz failed to allege denial of equal access because of his disability or
that Musclewood maintained a policy or structure that denied equal access to

the disabled.


Ruiz countered that he was not making claims under equal access provisions
of the DPA and that the claims he was making were sufficient because blind

are less able than sighted people to defend themselves against dog attacks.
Ruiz also claimed to have sufficiently alleged that defendants' policies

on their guard dog being allowed to roam unleashed and that the Musclewood
property gate had been opened without controlling the guard dog interfered

his rights.


In September 2016, Los Angeles County Superior Court found Ruiz failed to
allege that he was denied equal access because of his disability and

the defense demurrer. The Superior Court dismissed the case the following
December and Ruiz appealed.


Another plaintiff in the original lawsuit, Nicole Bautista, did not
participate in the appeal.


In reversing the Superior Court's decision, the appeals court ruled that the
section of the DPA under which Ruiz brought his complaint maintains that

"have the right to full and free use" of sidewalks.


"Here, plaintiff alleged that he and his dog had been attacked six times by
defendants' dog, while walking on the sidewalk," the Appeals Court's

said. "He further alleged that as a result, he no longer walked on that
portion of the sidewalk. Plaintiff sufficiently alleged a deprivation of his

of the sidewalk," the ruling states.




More information about the NFBC-Info mailing list