The story of how I got sued for a malpractice claim in 2015 has been a familiar one for many of us in the animal law community.
A lawsuit was filed against me by a dog owner who was allegedly mistreated at the hands of an animal welfare group, and it was all set to go to trial for over a year, until the plaintiff, the American Kennel Club, stepped in.
The dog owner in question, Kasey Withers, was in her late 30s when she was involved in a dispute with a local group called Humane Society International (HSI), which the group alleged to have mistreated dogs, including a puppy named Max.
Kasey was not at the center of the case, as it was an incident involving an individual member of the HSI, and there was no public record of the dispute between the parties.
However, the incident did become an important part of the legal landscape, as a federal district judge ruled in favour of the plaintiff and ordered that the case be heard by a jury.
What the jury didn’t know was that the lawsuit was not about Max, but a lawsuit filed against her by a different dog owner, who had also been mistreated by HSI.
According to the lawsuit, Kesey was abused by a group of dogs while working with a trainer, and the trainer allegedly left Max with a “bitch” who was constantly throwing the puppy around and beating her up.
Max was found in a ditch, bleeding and in a state of shock.
It is not known how long the case went on, but when it finally came to trial in December, Kosey’s attorney, Daniel Hynes, won the case and claimed damages from HSI for violating her rights under the US Federal Tort Claims Act.
Although the case was eventually dismissed, it left the dog owner and her lawyer in a position of having to explain their actions to a jury, which was tasked with deciding whether or not the allegations against them were accurate.
Since the verdict, Hynes has been on a tear, arguing that he won the cases case and deserves to have damages awarded to him.
While it was initially a win for the dog lover, the judge also noted that the dogs trainer did not have to pay the damages he was awarded.
Hynes is currently representing another dog lover who is being sued for tortious mistreatment by HSIs trainer, who is currently fighting the case in federal court in New York.
In the meantime, HSI has continued to take its case against Kaseys dog and her attorney, claiming that the trainer did indeed injure Max and that she should not be awarded damages.
As the story goes, Hanes claims that the trainers lawsuit is not about the dog at all, but about the HSIs treatment of Max, and that he should not have been punished for the incident, but instead should have been sued.
On the other hand, Max has a new legal ally, and is now fighting back against HSIs allegations in federal courts in New Jersey.
He is currently challenging HSIs claim that Max was a dog-killer, and has also filed a federal lawsuit in New Hampshire against HSI and the American Humane Society.
For Max, this is all very interesting.
When he was a puppy, Max was adopted from a shelter in Seattle and brought to the Humane Society in Oregon for a trial run.
At the time, Max had a record of biting and injuring people, but HSI claimed that the dog was not a dog killer.
“Max’s injuries were so minor, and so easily controllable that they were not consistent with any threat to Max’s welfare,” the suit states.
And it was not until Max was 18 months old that the shelter that housed Max finally came clean about the allegations of mistreatment.
HSI was ordered to pay Max $20,000 to the dog’s new owners and a $5,000 deposit to cover Max’s medical expenses.
So, Max is suing the shelter, which she says was negligent in not treating her properly.
Despite the lawsuit being filed on Max’s behalf, HSIs lawyers have been trying to portray Max as a dog abuser, claiming she attacked Max, a dog that was also at the shelter at the time.
There are multiple videos of Max being chased by a man who allegedly tried to take Max by the collar.
A video shows Max being taken by a security guard at a restaurant, and then being dragged away.
Later, when Max was released by the shelter in April, HSi claimed that Max had bitten a dog and that Max “kicked and punched” a security officer.
All of this is backed up by video footage that is still available to the public.
But Max’s legal team is not buying HSIs