Dog owners ask to file affirmative defenses in injury suit brought by letter carrier

By Christina Stueve | Dec 7, 2011

Defendants James and Renee Beyer on Dec. 2 requested Madison County Circuit Judge Ann Callis to allow them to file their affirmative defenses in a case of a letter carrier from Granite City who says he was attacked by a dog while delivering mail.

Postal worker Gary York filed a lawsuit Sept. 1 in Madison County Circuit Court against the Beyers, who own the dog.

According to the complaint, York walked onto the Beyer's porch on Garfield Avenue in Granite City in August 2010 to deliver the couple's mail. While he was on the porch, York says a white dog came out the front door -- unprovoked -- and attacked him.

A motion to compel was filed Nov. 14 in which the plaintiff asks that the defendants be required to respond to its interrogatories within 14 days of the court's order.

The defendants were served with the questions and a request for production on Sept. 14.

"To date, the defendants have yet to respond to the Plaintiff's discovery requests," the motion says. "Counsel has attempted to resolve the matter with Defendants' counsel."

An answer to the complaint was filed Oct. 12, in which the defendants deny the allegations.

The Beyers claim that when York entered the porch, he provoked their dog.

They say that York failed to determine if it was safe to approach the door of the defendant's home.

The Beyers also claim that York did not inform them they should install a curbside mailbox, so that a letter carrier would not have to enter their porch to deliver mail.

They also state that York failed to maintain his balance and that some of his injuries were a result of an overreaction to the dog.

As a letter carrier, York assumed risk and failed to mitigate his damages, the Beyers claim.

They say he was more than 50 percent negligent and should be barred from any recovery.

According to York's complaint, the dog bite caused injuries to his shoulder and neck that required medical attention and caused pain and suffering along with emotional distress.

York claims the Beyers are negligent for failing to control their dog and failing to provide a safe place to deliver the mail. He asks for more than $50,000 in damages for medical expenses, lost wages and court fees.

Attorneys Peter S. Blasi and Dawn Kamadulski O'Leary both of Granite City are representing York.

Stephen Mudge represents the defendants.

A case management conference has been set for Feb. 29, 2012.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-875.

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