CASE Eddie A. Coney v. Beverly Ann McCook, No. 50-2017-CA-000716-XXXX-MB
COURT Palm Beach County Circuit Court, 15th
JUDGE Lisa S. Small
PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY(S) Gloretta H. Hall, Gloretta H. Hall, P.A., Stuart, FL
DEFENSE ATTORNEY(S) None reported
FACTS & ALLEGATIONS On May 6, 2016, plaintiff Eddie A. Coney, 66, a truck driver, was at the house of his then girlfriend, Beverly Ann McCook, in West Palm Beach. After McCook had left for work, Coney attempted to put her pet pit bull in its cage. He had done so multiple times in the past. When he reached down for the dog's collar, without provocation, the dog bit off the upper portion of his right thumb.
Coney sued McCook, alleging that she was strictly liable for his dog-bite injuries. Florida Statute 767.04 states that dogowners are liable for injuries caused by their dogs, if the animal was not provoked. The statute allows for dog owners to avoid liability if they have a prominent warning sign, but Coney said there was no such sign on the property.
McCook did not answer the complaint, and a default judgement on liability was entered against her. The trial solely addressed damages.
INJURIES/DAMAGES amputation, fingertip; amputation, thumb; numbness; physical therapy; swelling McCook's pit bull bit off the upper portion of the thumb of Coney's right, dominant hand. Immediately following the bite, Coney drove himself to the north campus of JFK Medical Center. He brought the amputated portion of his thumb in the hope that could reattach it. He received X-rays and was given pain Coney subsequently completed about two months of physical therapy. He claimed that he had continued pain, swelling and numbness at the site of the amputation. His counsel argued that he could require future treatment to the area.
Coney said that he was embarrassed by the way his hand looked after the amputation. He had trouble performing tasks that required the use of his thumb, such as writing, doing routine mechanic work and using zippers and buttons.
Coney had been working as a merchandise truck driver prior to the bite. Once he got to a delivery site, he would unload and stack the packages. He claimed, however, he could no longer do this because of his amputation. While he continues work as a truck driver, someone else has to unload and stack his deliveries. Thus, he said, he suffered a substantial loss of income.
Coney sought recovery of $115,890.95 for past and future medical expenses and past and future lost earnings, and she sought recovery of $129,428.85 for noneconomic damages.
RESULT The jury determined that Coney's damages totaled $275,890.95.
EDDIE CONEY $115,891 past and future lost earnings and past and future medical cost $160,000 past and future pain and suffering $275,891
TRIAL DETAILS Trial Length: 1 day
Trial Deliberations: 26 minutes Jury Vote: 6-0
Jury Composition: 4 male, 2 female
EDITOR'S NOTE This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Additional information was gleaned from court documents. The pro se defendant was not asked to contribute.