Bravo Under Fire! Should Bravo Producers Be Held Liable For Kim Richards Dog Bite Attack?

Posted on Feb 13 2015 - 1:40pm by Stacy Slotnick, Esq.

kim-richards-dog

Lawyers are frequently accused of being verbose. Thus, in the spirit of simplicity I will answer the question posed in the title of this blog with an unreserved, “No.”

Ellen Catherine “Kay” Rozario, age 80, was allegedly injured on March 20, 2014 when RHOBH cast member Kim Richards’ pit bull Kingsley bit her while she was an invited guest at the former child star’s home.  Kay, a longtime family friend, claimed all of a sudden and without provocation, Kingsley attacked her.

The complaint in Ellen Catherine Rozario v. Kim Richards et al., filed in federal court in Los Angeles on December 12, 2014 (case number 2:14-cv-09540) asserts the dog attack “caused severe injuries to Plaintiff’s left hand, arm and back,” triggering the plaintiff to “bleed profusely from her wounds.” Plaintiff avers she “suffers pain, disfigurement, emotional pain and suffering, anxiety and other damages to this day.” 

During the past few years, extensive attention has been devoted to attacks by the American Staffordshire Terrier — a breed commonly known as the “pit bull.” Kim is likely on the hook for injuries sustained by Kay since California’s dog bite statute makes the owner of a dog strictly liable for any dog bite from the moment that ownership begins, provided the victim was not trespassing, provoking the dog, or performing a paid service involving the dog.

But Kay is hedging her bets by naming the network’s producers in her suit. It is plaintiff’s contention Evolution Film & Tape, Inc. (“Evolution”), the name for Bravo producers, is at fault.  Kay claims Evolution had prior knowledge Kingsley was dangerous and was therefore under a duty to warn the public of the animal’s ferocity.  Plaintiff’s complaint alleges a single cause of action against Evolution “for fraudulent concealment and conspiracy to fraudulently conceal.”

pitbull8n-6-web

Under California Civil Code § 1710, “fraud may consist of a suppression of a material fact in circumstances under which the defendant has a legal duty of disclosure.” As a matter of law, it is difficult for Kay to establish Evolution owed her a legal duty to disclose because she does not assert any relationship or transaction with Evolution that would give rise to such a duty.  Consequently, it was not surprising Evolution moved to dismiss the complaint on January 19, 2015, noting Defendant Richards was not acting in concert and conspiracy with, at the request of and/or for the benefit of, Defendant Evolution. Evolution stated on pg. 6 of its Motion to Dismiss: “The only ‘relationship’ between Evolution and Plaintiff is that they are both members of the general public.”

According to the plaintiff, a producer of a television show owes a duty to every viewer of the program to disclose all known facts about anything depicted on the show, and would be subject to suit by any such viewer.  It sounds far-fetched (pun-intended), but that is fundamentally what is alleged in plaintiff’s complaint. 

Conspiracy imposes liability on persons who, although not actually committing a tort themselves share with the immediate tortfeasor (Kim Richards) a common plan or design in its perpetration. Evolution argues it had no duty to disclose anything to plaintiff and in the absence of any such duty to disclose, Evolution could not “conspire” to conceal, even if its alleged co-conspirator had such a duty.

In short, Evolution claims there is no blood on their hands since they bore no responsibility over Richards’ handling of the dog and they did not owe a duty to disclose to the general public anything concerning the dog’s viciousness.  Do you think these reality show producers committed a primetime tort?

Sensing an uphill legal battle over the fraudulent concealment and conspiracy to fraudulently conceal claim, plaintiff filed an amended complaint on February 9, 2015. In it, plaintiff attempted to show that the intentional misrepresentations made by Evolution in relevant episodes in which the dog was being trained to correct the dog’s aggression, caused plaintiff to not be concerned about the dog and to agree to spend the night at Richards’ residence where she was subsequently attacked. 

kim-richards-lawsuit-dog-attack-pp

“If Plaintiff would have been aware Defendant Richards and Defendant Evolution had intentionally misrepresented the fact that the dog was vicious and dangerous, Plaintiff, her daughter and granddaughter would not have been guests or overnight guests at Defendant Richards’ residence with the dog present and loose in the house,” see 113 of plaintiff’s amended complaint.

Plaintiff charges the broadcasts of the RHOBH television shows premiering on November 11, 2013 and March 17, 2014, among other relevant episodes, caused plaintiff, through her daughter Lianne Harris, to not be concerned at all about the dog.  “Defendants together misrepresented to the public the dangerousness and viciousness of the dog and falsely misled the public as to the reason why a trainer was hired for the dog,” see 19 of plaintiff’s amended complaint.

Generally, to prove a prima facie case of intentional misrepresentation under California law, the plaintiff must show that:

(1) The defendant made a material misrepresentation;

(2) The defendant had knowledge of the misrepresentation;

(3) The defendant intended for the plaintiff to rely on his/her misrepresentation;

(4) There was actual and justifiable reliance on the part of the plaintiff; and

(5) There were damages sustained by the plaintiff.

Jeremy Bentham, the British jurist and social reformer once commented, “The power of the lawyer is in the uncertainty of the law.”  Here there is no ambiguity for which the finest jurist could spin gold out of straw. It is unlikely plaintiff can prove element number one above, let alone elements two through four. Did Bravo producers make a material misrepresentation regarding Kingsley’s gentleness that it intended for the plaintiff to rely on?  Doubtful. Was it justifiable for Kay to trust said misrepresentation displayed on television when she came into contact with the dog? Nope. The plaintiff asks the jury (Kay demanded a jury trial on all issues so triable) to make giant logical leaps.

On February 11, Judge Andre Birotte, Jr. ruled that the case would continue, denying Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in light of the newly-filed complaint. PacerMonitor.com shows the following notation being made:

Order DENYING Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss as MOOT by Judge Andre Birotte, Jr: In light of the newly-filed FAC, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the now-inoperative Complaint is MOOT, and the Court DENIES Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the original Complaint. (Dkt. No.18 .) Pursuant to FRCP 78(b) and Local Rule 7-15, the Court finds this matter appropriate for determination without oral argument, and the hearing previously scheduled for March 16, 2015 at 10:00 AM., is hereby VACATED. (jp)

Kim Richards dog bite Court doc

My forest through the trees analysis is this: Plaintiff may be trying to hang the wrong defendant for tortious acts committed by another because Evolution has deeper pockets.  This type of litigation strategy occurs all the time, but it doesn’t make it any more palatable or savory.  Moreover, should the trier of fact find a producer of a television show owes a duty to every viewer of the program to disclose all known facts about anything depicted on the show, such sweeping proclamation would undoubtedly change the way production companies do business. 

I am excited to hear AATT poster’s thoughts and urge you to grab your gavel, join the conversation, and be as loquacious as you like.

 

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About the Author

Stacy Slotnick, a.k.a. The Foxy Jurist, holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Commonwealth Honors College. Stacy is the recipient of the Honors Deans Award; Simon and Satenig Ermonian Memorial Scholarship; College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Opportunity Scholarship; and College of Humanities and Fine Arts Scholarship. She is also a William F. Field Alumni Scholar, an honor bestowed upon the most academically distinguished students. In law school, Stacy won two CALI Excellence For The Future Awards® and received an Achievement Scholarship. She is a member of the New York Bar. As an entertainment lawyer, Stacy counsels clients on contracts, branding, and public relations strategy. She negotiates with agents, producers, production companies, and lawyers to secure rights to projects on behalf of high-profile clients. Her clever, spirited, no holds barred legal analysis can be found in articles for The Huffington Post. * Facebook
 
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  • Brattus Rattus

    Of course it’s for the money. I’m not sure if this is the same house, but if it’s Kyle and Mauricio’s home and they are allowing Kim to live there, I would drop Bravo from the lawsuit, and go after Kyle and Mauricio. They have money and they have family that’s been attacked too. Wouldn’t that help this woman’s case more? At least if this is for money, she has a better shot at getting some.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      The incident occurred in Kim’s home, not at Mauricio and Kyle’s house. Kyle Richards’ daughter Alexia Umansky was in the hospital after Kingsley attacked her, leaving the teen with injuries that required several operations.

      • Brattus Rattus

        So this isn’t the house that they constantly bicker about? That Kim wants to buy back from K &M? I was under the impression that she was living in that house rent free. At least in prior episodes they harped on it. LOL
        Great write-up BTW.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          It is possible Kyle and Mauricio own the home Kim lives in but they do not own Kingsley, and it is the dog owner who is strictly liable under California’s dog bite statute. I absolutely remember in season one Kyle went after Kim on this very subject. Intense sisterly love? 🙂 Thanks so much for the compliments and remarks!

        • MidwestMiddie

          I believe their argument is about their deceased mother;s
          house in Palm Springs.

          • Brattus Rattus

            Ahhhhh. Thank you. I can hardly keep up with one home. These people have too much going on. I need to start making notes. Or nah. LOL

    • Stacy Slotnick

      It is such a shame, though, if the complaint was made solely against Bravo for money because a lawyer has a duty not to file a frivolous lawsuit. I am not saying the lawsuit against Bravo is frivolous because we don’t have all the facts, but based on the complaint it comes pretty close.

      • Brattus Rattus

        Money is a horrible thing. Makes people insane. If her reason for doing all of this was to bring to light the viciousness of this dog and to warn other people, great! But if it is for money, it’s a shame.

  • cait

    Naughty Bravo, they should have knocked on the doors of everyone Dimbo knows, to tell them about the mutt ! NOT ! They portrayed, on screen, that the dog was aggressive, hence the trainer ! Aggressive dogs are seldom “cured”
    Money-grubbing-bat !

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Love your written flair for the dramatics! I completely agree. The dog attacked the trainer on TV, right? That goes against PL’s argument that Bravo portrayed the canine as gentle.

  • Chloe

    Great blog, Stacy. I think it takes a person with a strong presence to handle a strong-willed dog (of any breed). I saw that dog on RHOBH, and he is too much for her to handle. It’s how a dog is raised, however, pits are a dominant breed. How she treats him enables the behavior. That dog is going to maul her or someone else!

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thank you, Chloe, for your kind comments! Your expertise is also very much appreciated. So you believe Kim is solely responsible and that a different handler/owner might not have had a problem with Kingsley?

      • Chloe

        Thank you, Stacy. That’s precisely my assertion. Kim is simply ill-equipped to handle Kingsley and therefore contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          The appropriate action would have been for Kim to keep the pet away from visitors, especially those who do not have the dexterity or swift movement capabilities (like an 80-year-old).

          • MidwestMiddie

            Or Kim’s young niece??????

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Good point. Alexia, who looks like she is in excellent shape, failed to retreat from the dangerous dog as well. Conclusion: The dog was inappropriately allowed to be around people?

          • MidwestMiddie

            That is my conclusion.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Then there is no question Kim is solely liable. I haven’t seen a post yet in which anyone believes Bravo could be found negligent.

  • Dave

    I think any dog owner should do their research before they get a dog, and I think if they don’t know how to train a dog they should always consult a trainer. I have two dogs and they fully understand not only their place in the pack, but they understand the boundaries and know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior. Some people are afraid to discipline their dogs in case it makes them look bad or because they don’t want to feel like the bad guy (Kim seems to fall into this category from what I’ve seen on the show; she is also really co-dependent and treats the dog like a child rather than like a dog), but if you do not show them how to behave they will act out. Also, some people mistake discipline for abusing an animal and that’s wrong; you can absolutely discipline an animal without ever having to resort to violence. Kingsley clearly thinks he is the Alpha in the house and was asserting his dominance, and Kim is not the person to be looking after him. What is truly sad is that if this persists he will bite someone else and end up being put down, and all because he has an owner who is out of her depth and refuses to admit it.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I am beyond grateful you included this analysis, Dave. I do see a judge reviewing whether Kingsley is a menace to society and will harm again based on his track record with Alexia and now Kay (the plaintiff here) despite the fact Kingsley’s misbehaving tendencies might not be his fault. How do you think a judge will rule in this case? Do you see the fault solely on Kim?

      • Dave

        Thanks Stacy. Love your blogs and beautiful avi.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Thank you, Dave. I really appreciate your support and compliments. Glad you enjoyed the article. There is nothing scarier on Friday the 13th than being on the receiving end of a frivolous lawsuit, right? I hope Evolution wins their next Motion to Dismiss.

      • Lucy94

        I’m blaming Kim 100%. For every time the dog bit someone there had to be countless red flags beforehand. What if he bit Monty, whom I’m sure has no immune system left? I am totally convinced she doesn’t have a functioning brain cell left. And where does she think she’s going to get the money to pay the legal fees/damages. At the very least she will have to cover the medical bills? I’m betting she doesn’t have the right kind of insurance for this.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          You are right. She makes a lot of unintelligible moves that clearly have impacted her friends, family, and could have harmed people who are ill.

  • CNN

    Kim should really fix her eyebrows so she doesn’t have that constant look of disbelief/consternation.

    She did take precautions to keep the dog away from people, so I don’t think she should be faulted.

    • Brattus Rattus

      I’ll admit that I wasn’t there for the NUMEROUS times this dog has attacked people. That being said, if you have a dog that keeps attacking people, she should absolutely be faulted to a degree – what that degree is, I can’t tell you because I wasn’t there for each attack.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Interesting thought. Unfortunately for Kim, so long as Kay had a right to be on the premises, she will be held responsible for any dog bites since she is the owner of the pet. The precautions she took should have made the PL aware she was having issues training Kingsley on her own. The episodes that are in dispute clearly prove Kingsley needed to be trained.

    • cait

      Her sister’s child was hospitalised because of this mutt, a banned breed over here ! If she kept the dog away from people how did he maul her visitor ? Must have slid under the door !

      • Stacy Slotnick

        I support many animal rights groups but I do not wholeheartedly agree with their position that pit bulls are misunderstood. The sheer number of lawsuits against pit bull owners would beg to differ and insurance rates soar because insurance companies pay out tons of pit bull bite claims. Thoughts?

        • cait

          Dimbo can barely look after herself, let alone a dangerous pit bull with a bite poundage that explains how many deaths they cause !

        • Brattus Rattus

          I agree with you, Stacy. It’s not necessarily the breed of any one animal that makes them good, better or the worst. It’s how you breed them and raise them. Kim should have a goldfish. Maybe. Actually a plant would be better. I have seen Pit-bulls that are the sweetest creatures in the world but it was because of the way they were raised.
          It is true about the insurance rates. A lot of insurance companies won’t even insure you for certain breeds of dogs. Makes me wonder about Kim’s position on that. So many questions.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Great points! It makes you wonder about Kim’s state of mind in getting Kingsley.

  • itsjustme

    From the moment I heard she included Evolution in the suit, I first SMH and said. Yet, she knows where the money is and Kim aint it. I sure hope Evolution is NOT held at all responsible for any of this. This woman could see from the episodes that the dog was vicious with the trainer. Do I think Kim should be held liable? ABSOLUTELY! no question at all but certainly not Bravo and Evolution.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I agree entirely with you, itsjustme. Thank you for posting your thoughts here. I truly believe that if Kim had Lisa Vanderpump’s kmoney, Evolution would not have been made a party to this lawsuit. What do you think about the claim Evolution concealed facts regarding the viciousness of the dog for TV audiences?

      • itsjustme

        Absolutely not. Evolution, I don’t believe hid anything. They showed Kingsley go after the trainer. They showed the trainer keeping Kingsley muzzled and telling Kim to keep him muzzled. Besides that I feel the owner should be the ONLY one held culpable for any damages awarded the victim.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I think you are correct. I’d say in court, “Roll the footage,” because the footage buttressing the claim that Evolution did not hide Kingsley’s propensity for viciousness.

  • MidwestMiddie

    Rumor has it that while at Kim’s house the producers of Bravo’s RHBH insisted
    Kim’s dog was locked up and out of their way because the dog has been vicious
    with them.
    Fact or Fiction?

    • itsjustme

      I have heard that also. But, even if that is a fact. I don’t feel in any way did Bravo hide the fact that Kingsley was vicious.

      • MidwestMiddie

        Given Bravo’s penchant for the dramatic, morbid and criminalistic aspects
        of their cast members lives, I can imagine Bravo keeping quiet
        about the dangers of Kim’s dog, including any bites the dog may
        have inflicted on its staffers.
        For Bravo the $how must go on …… no matter what!
        Ratings over Integrity –
        : /

    • Chloe

      That’s very plausible. That dog is bigger than some humans and out of control.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Really? I am very intrigued by this tidbit. If true, the case against Bravo/Evolution is sunk. Where did you hear that? It further proves this PL has no claim against the production company, which is a good thing because if production companies had to start censoring themselves over content for fear of lawsuits, we all lose out.

      • MidwestMiddie

        I’ve read this tidbit online at several sites.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          If Evolution can prove this, then it shows they took precautions to keep people safe around Kingsley and thus DID NOT make material misrepresentations about the dog. In fact, they were transparent with people.

          • MidwestMiddie

            Kept their staffers safe but made no mention of having to do this
            while promoting Kim’s story line even on WWHL. I don’t find
            Evolution admirable if safety for their own was all that mattered.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            In what regard would they mention it as a storyline on RHOBH? Should producers have appeared on-air telling viewers they feared for their safety. Remember, the production company must keep their employees safe, otherwise they could be sued. The assertion that Bravo had a duty to third parties regarding the safety of Kim’s dog is ludicrous.

          • MidwestMiddie

            “In what regard would they mention it as a storyline on RHOBH?”
            Have you ever watched Bravo’s Andy’s week night show “Watch
            What Happens Live?” Everything is discussed. Kim’s dog was discussed. Kyle’s daughter’s dog bite was mentioned but Kyle
            refused to discuss the topic.

            If Bravo’s Film Crew Did Have Trouble With the Dog ………
            If a professional group finds a dangerous situation exists in their location and corrects it for their own protection, don’t they have an
            obligation to report the dangerous situation to the police to make
            certain that dangerous situation is corrected for everyone’s safety?

  • TopGear

    Thank you for the legal analysis, Stacy. Anyone who watched the show could see that Kim is not able to handle Kingsley. It was only a matter of time before he bit someone. She had no control over him, and he was very dominant. I love Pit Bulls, and have one myself, and they need a strong, dominant responsible owner She is to blame for this. She is the owner, and is not smart enough to own a goldfish!

    • Stacy Slotnick

      You are very welcome, and I thank you, TopGear, for commenting this afternoon. As an owner of a pit bull, what has your experience been like when visitors come to your home/property? Do you take precautions as the owner of a pit bull that you would not otherwise take?

      • ♥♥♥ Tigerlily ·.¸¸.·*¨·.·.¸¸.

        As a person who has owned both small & large breeds ranging from 4 lbs to 180 lbs. (I also owned an Am-Staff.) It it imperative for any owner who owns a large breed to take extra precautions. Simply because the damage the dog can inflict if something were to go wrong is so much greater. But what I myself have found most often to be the case is that it is usually the smaller breeds of dogs that tend to be the ones who bite.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Great point about size, since more than half the states make dog owners liable if their dogs cause injury, whether or not the owner had reason to think the dog was dangerous.

          • ♥♥♥ Tigerlily ·.¸¸.·*¨·.·.¸¸.

            TY Stacy. I owned a 4 lb. mini long-haired doxie & because she was so small, every kid on the planet wanted to pick her up. (The kids always tended to try & pick her up by her front legs.)
            She loved people but I had to step in & protect not only the child but my dog from having to protect herself. I would have to be harsh sometimes but thankfully I never had to deal with my dog being held responsible for a bite whether it was warranted or not.
            Now come into my house uninvited & all bets are off. LOL!

          • Stacy Slotnick

            You are absolutely right! I used to protect my very cute shih tzu when my playmates would come around because they wanted to cuddle and smother him. Dog ownership is wonderful and I would highly recommend it, but it is not for everyone. Moreover, certain breeds align better with certain personalities. Because the law so heavily favors the injured in this dog biting scenario, it is incumbent upon the owner to take precautions and be extremely thoughtfully when bringing home a pet.

    • Lucy94

      Top Gear, I so agree with you! It takes a certain type of person to own a pit bull and I know myself that I could never have one. So, who in the hell thought someone like Kim Richards who has the mental capacity of a small child (on a good day) would be fit to give/sell the dog to? Does anyone know how she got this dog? And if I were a producer/camera crew there is NO WAY I would step foot in this dingbat’s house if that dog was there, locked up or not! My precious baby is a bichon/poodle mix who for the first 4.5 years of her life was horribly abused. If there is any dog that should want to kill someone, it should be her. I have had her for 3 years and never even heard her growl. She is the sweetest thing you could ever imagine!

      • ♥♥♥ Tigerlily ·.¸¸.·*¨·.·.¸¸.

        I believe it was a gift from her son. Not 100% on that. West would probably know.

      • Stacy Slotnick

        Hi Lucy94! Your bichon/poodle mix is blessed to have such a caring owner like you, and I see from your description that you feel equally lucky to be her family. I think the producers were on the right side of the law this time around.

        • Lucy94

          Thanks Stacy! Great blog, as usual. I honestly think Kim has brain damage. Can she use that as a defense? And if her son did give her this dog, well all I can say to that is, has he met his mother? What’s next, an AK 47?

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Love your verbiage and wise thoughts, and thanks for the praise on the blog! Unfortunately for Kim, incapacity, mental illness, addiction, etc., are not defenses to California’s dog bite statute.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Actual defenses to dog bite statutes that impose strict liability include:
            The victim was a trespasser
            The victim was a veterinarian or canine professional who was treating the dog at the time of the incident
            The victim was committing a felony or other crime against the owner of the dog
            The victim provoked the dog by physically abusing it
            The victim assumed the risk (i.e., explicitly or implicitly consented) to being bitten
            The dog was assisting the police or the military at the time of the incident

      • RoundAbout

        When I first heard about Kingsley biting Alexia, I began wondering where Kim got him myself. I did a little searching and most of the articles on Kim’s new dog stated that one of Kathy’s sons had gotten him off Craigslist but was informed that the dog would not be added to the Hilton household,. I don’t remember if it was Conrad or Barron who picked up the dog, but whichever one it was, they had the brilliant idea to give him to Kim.

  • Great blog, Stacy! Thanks for covering the topic.

    A dog being protective of its owner is a warning sign that the dog considers the owner his property, not his leader. Anyone with experience at dog ownership would have known that. Kim needs to surrender her dog to a pit bull rehab facility and never get another dog, unless she is willing to step up and be the master.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      That is an excellent point and very much in line with what dog owners have articulated. There seems to be little doubt Kim should pay the plaintiff’s medical bills and damages. Bravo’s liability is definitely in question. What do you think about the allegation made by the plaintiff that Bravo producers misrepresented, through footage, that Kingsley was fine because he was being trained?

      • Thanks Stacy. I believe the allegation to be true. Bravo had the dog featured on the show and did give the impression he was being trained and safe.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Thank you for your response. Your take on the matter is very much aligned with what this plaintiff seeks to prove to a jury.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thank you, too, for your endorsement of the blog. I am glad you liked the topic. I think other media outlets just regurgitate what one another reports. AATT gives us this great platform to delve deeper into the lawsuit. 🙂

    • Birdie

      A newborn baby can be a powerful dog’s leader if the dog is properly trained. This post is spot on. Remember Jill’s little ferocious rat dog? That dog was the worst, but because of it’s size, the threat was minimal. Jill shouldn’t be a dog owner either.

      • Stacy Slotnick

        Thank you for your insightful remarks, Birdie. The law presupposes that people will provide the right care, treatment, and discipline for their dogs, because under the strict liability statute, there are no excuses for a single bite.

      • ♥♥♥ Tigerlily ·.¸¸.·*¨·.·.¸¸.

        GMTA Birdie! I basically said the same thing below. I have owned large breeds & small. No matter how you slice it, it comes down to being an educated & responsible owner.

        • Birdie

          HAHA…of course T-Lily! I have a pit, and she loves too much if anything. Every issue we ever run into with other dogs is because of lax owners who haven’t worked as hard as I have to have a balanced dog.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Cheers to being a responsible dog owner! The law will thank you.

      • That is exactly right. People who don’t know things like this should not on large breed dogs especially. And no Jill should not be a dog owner.

  • ♥♥♥ Tigerlily ·.¸¸.·*¨·.·.¸¸.

    Thanks Stacy. Appreciate your insightful & educational blogs. Thanks AAtT.

    Imho. Dog owners are responsible for their dogs behavior. While I think Kingsley himself has issues, it doesn’t negate the fact that Kim is the only party who is responsible for her dog.

    (As an aside I do not think anyone who is as irresponsible & lax as Kim should own any large or powerful breed dog such as Kingsley.)

    That aside, Stacy does the fact that Kingsley’s aggressive behavior was shown on TV prior to this incident bode well for either Bravo or this woman? Bravo should have known or this woman should have know? Does it have any bearing at all?

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thank you, Tigerlily, for your befitting remarks! I hope your Friday is indeed going well!

      Interestingly, PL in this case has attempted to show that Kingsley’s aggressive behavior on the show was favorable to her because a trainer came to tame the pooch, thus Bravo “misrepresented” the dog’s penchant for aggressiveness. In reality, this footage will be a nail in the PL’s coffin/case because it demonstrates vicious behavior by the dog. Does that make sense? In court, both sides will use the footage to make drastically different claims.

      • ♥♥♥ Tigerlily ·.¸¸.·*¨·.·.¸¸.

        Thanks Stacy. That’s exactly the footage I was referring to. I mean “Holy Smokes!”, the dog attacked the trainer. Shouldn’t Bravo have known better after that incident? Shouldn’t the woman have known better now?
        I am sorry this woman was injured, but I personally think that this woman is just going after the one who has the largest bank account. I feel Kim is solely responsible to protect everyone whom she invites into her home from such an aggressive dog, no matter what breed.

        Would it or does it make a difference if Bravo was filming when the attack occurred? (I don’t know if they were.)

        Happy Friday Stacy. Wicked cold here in NY. Stay safe & warm. & Enjoy your weekend.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Great question. Bravo was not filming when Kay was attacked however it might not change their culpability since Bravo was not the owner of the dog. It would very much depend on whether Bravo producers provoked the dog, causing the dog to attack Kay

          OMG, I know! When 30 degrees sounds balmy, you know you are in the thick of winter. Be well and take comfort under some heavy blankets this weekend (chocolate for Valentine’s Day included).

  • Bad Barbie

    Was the lady staying there to be part of the show?

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Good question. Bravo was not filming when Kay was there. Kay and Kim are allegedly longtime family friends, which makes the suit against Kim even more perplexing. If Kay sought monies for her injuries, there are reports Kim offered to pay her damages. Going after Bravo shows the pot of money at the end of the rainbow (punitive damages and pain and suffering) is what this PL might be after.

    • MidwestMiddie

      I read the woman was an old family friend staying for a weekend-like stay.
      Supposedly Kim promised to pay the woman’s medical bills and to get rid
      of the dog so he couldn’t hurt anyone else. Kim never paid the medical bills
      and kept Kingsley.
      I think this lady filed her suit after learning about Kyle’s daughter being
      bitten and having to have two operations.
      Again ….this is all from online blogs so take it for what its worth ………

  • All About The Tea

    Hi AATT posters,

    Out of respect for attorney, Stacy Slotnick, please refrain from posting gifs and links on legal analysis blogs. Thank you for understanding.

  • Yolie

    Im a dog lover and I believe there are probably hundreds of well behaved Pit’s. This dog is not one of them and is very dangerous and Kim is in denial and making excuses. The situation could have easily been a matter of life and death. I don’t care if the dog’s a Cocker Spaniel, if Kim loves her family and values their well being and safety as well as values her own well being she will find the dog a new home in a strictly controlled atmosphere that clearly she cant provide.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      The law reflects everything you have stated above. Do you see Bravo producers being liable for anything they aired with regard to Kingsley’s dog trainer?

      • Yolie

        The producers gave viewers the impression Kinsgley was trainable and playful. I honestly feel they are on the hook for their portrayal.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          But if you follow that thesis through to its conclusion, Bravo would be liable to anyone who came into contact with the dog. That person could claim they saw the show and what was portrayed made them unafraid to be around the dog. It’s a very strained relationship between the tortfeasor (Bravo) and the injured, who would be anyone in the world.

          • RoundAbout

            What I took away from the airing of the trainer working with Kingsley was that the dog was trainable at that time, but not with Kim as his owner. The trainer is shown delivering Kingsley back home to Kim and giving Kim strict instructions of how to interact with the dog. Kim promptly discards all his advice while the trainer is in the process of leaving her home. That gave me no false sense of security in regards to the dog. Having had dogs most of my life, I then knew it was only a matter of time before Kingsley injured someone simply because Kim is unwilling/unable to control him.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            You should be arguing the case for Evolution. This is a great summation of the facts and how they could be applied to the law, which I too believe heavily favor Bravo producers.

          • Poo

            That was my impression at the time also. Even blogged that we hadn’t seen the end of this as one of the parting scenes was Kingsley on top of Kim.

  • Norrth

    I feel like I’m not getting a full set of details, from the woman suing Kim and Bravo/EM. I get her case against Kim, but I don’t see it in the posted papers.

    Did the attack occur while filming?
    Was the camera crew padded and protected while she was not?
    Did Bravo/EM require Kim to get an out of control pit?
    Did Bravo/EM require Kim to keep the dog for the sake of filming “naughty Kingsley” scenes later on?
    Was she attacked and Bravo/EM staffers stood by and watched (or filmed the attack)?
    As far as I know, these women aren’t paid for their time off camera, so how was Kim an agent of Bravo/EM during the attack – with no cameras present? Aren’t these women treated as independent contractors (as actors are) and not employees when they work?

    What the blippity is this woman’s case about (assuming the case is about more than money)?

    I wish the trainer had taken the dog and kept him. I’m so sorry that dog was placed back in Kim’s hands.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thank you for your in-depth analysis and questions. Let’s get right to it!

      Lawsuits are filled with “interesting” as you say, and complex people. Prospective clients come to lawyers because they have a problem or anticipate a problem. Therefore, lawyers need to be able to correctly identify arguments and claims in a sea of uncertainty. But the art of the argument is why many lawyers keep at it. 🙂

      The dog attack did not occur while Bravo was filming Kim for an episode of RHOBH.
      I can’t speak to what precise precautions the camera crew took to maintain their own safety or whether Bravo encouraged/required her to get a dangerous pet. In any event, that is not what the plaintiff here has alleged. Kay maintains that producers misrepresented the dangerousness of the dog, and she relied on that misrepresentation to her detriment as she was bitten by Kingsley.

      This is a case about Kim being liable solely because she owned Kingsley and in CA, ownership attaches strict liability when a dog bites another and that individual had a right to be on the premises. The case against Bravo producers boils down to the fact that Kay alleges Bravo aired footage showing the dog being trained and therefore not aggressive or violent. Kay claims she relied on that representation (namely, the dog’s gentleness) when she visited Kim and decided to be around the dog. Does this make things clearer for you?

      • Norrth

        Your answers makes things clear, I just think that woman’s logic is twisted. Heck, I don’t even trust Bravo’s portrayal of the WOMEN of this show, much less the dog. I didn’t see an attempt to portray the dog as trained and not a threat. Kim’s children and the trainer even cringed when they saw her with the dog when the trainer brought it home. This woman is a family friend. I’m guessing she would know that one of Kim’s children was bitten since the dog was “trained”. I hope Kim is responsible enough to pay the woman’s bills, but I don’t think Bravo is responsible (this time).

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Thank you, North, for providing this articulate analysis of Kay’s claims against Bravo producers as well as insight into Kim.

          I agree with you the footage showed the dog was dangerous and vicious, not gentle or that it was being trained to be non-aggressive. I think it is possible Bravo could argue this is a case in which the lawsuit is frivolous, e.g., one without any legal merit. In such a case, the individual bringing the frivolous suit might be liable for damages for Malicious Prosecution.

          I agree that Kim should pay Kay’s medical bills AND legal bills if Kim refused to reimburse Kay for the former. If Kay had to institute litigation to receive compensation for actual damages, she might be able to collect her attorney fees after the matter has reached its conclusion via settlement or a verdict.

          • Poo

            If I recall ,Kimi initially promised to pay Kays medical expenses and then refused and wouldn’t take Kays calls. After Kyles daughter was bitten, Kay decided to force the issue as she felt Kingsley was truly dangerous to not just her, but others as well.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            That is my understanding as well. Kim announced that she would pay Kay’s medical bills but allegedly she did not.

  • Happywife

    Whose stupid idea was it to give a cuckoo drunk like Kim a pitbull? Literally the most inappropriate dog for her. She cant control her own behavior half the time let a lone a frisky pitbull. Take it away and give it to an owner that can control and teach it better.

    • MidwestMiddie

      Agree.
      I wonder where the dog is now? Can’t trust a thing Kim Richards says ………

    • Stacy Slotnick

      “Breed-specific” legislation is the term for laws that either regulate or ban certain breeds completely in the hopes of reducing dog attacks. It is worth noting that in some areas, regulated breeds include American Pit Bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, English Bull Terriers, and Rottweilers. As you astutely stated, some people are ill-suited to train and care for pit bulls, therefore laws are in place to deal with dangerous dogs. Breed-specific legislation usually survives the minimum scrutiny analysis allowed by the due process clauses of the Constitution’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments because the law rationally relates to a legitimate government goal or purpose. Hundreds of municipalities have adopted these laws.

    • Babyruth3944

      Yea! And replace it with a build-a bear. Maybe she can handle that, or it might be next seasons story line. Imo

  • Harleygirl0685

    Stacy, I love how you always make complicated stories so easy to understand! I read as far as the word STAFFORDSHIRE. Then my face turned red, my body started shaking and my head started spinning around really fast! I’m Ok now tho

    • ♥♥♥ Tigerlily ·.¸¸.·*¨·.·.¸¸.

      Drats Harley! Awwwww! BUMMER!
      I always seem to miss you lately!

      ❤❤ Happy Valentine’s day Lovey! ❤❤

      ¯`v´¯) I Love My Girls @ AAtT!
      `*.¸.*´ ?
      ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)?
      (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.
      (¯`v´¯)
      .`·.¸.·´ ?
      ¸.·´¸.·´¨) ¸.·*¨)
      (¸.·´ (¸.·´ .·´ ¸

      • Harleygirl0685

        Hey you! How are things in your world? We do keep missing each other. Are you on Twitter? I am but never use it, maybe now would be a good time to learn how…LOL! I told Mars last week to tell you I said hi. I saw your post about Nan, please tell her I was asking for her! I’m gonna try to post a pic to show you what I made my hubby for his Bday last week as a reminder to never leave the house again without a helmet. I think you’ll get a kick out of it. This is my 3rd time trying to write this, disqus keeps crashing on me

        • ♥♥♥ Tigerlily ·.¸¸.·*¨·.·.¸¸.

          Hi Harley! Awwww!
          Happy belated birthday to Mr. Harley!
          So sweet of you to make that for you Honey. What an awesome present.

          He’s a lucky. lucky man. (In oh so many ways! LOL!)

          Hope all is well with you guys.
          Freezing my little Irish butt off here in NYC. Too much snow & cold. I’ve had my fill. Brrrrrrrrr! Well I guess it could be worse. I could be in Boston! LOL! Hope we can catch up soon.

          • Harleygirl0685

            LOL…they are so cute, you’re the best!
            I’m with you, these single digit temps suck! We’re going to the Keys in April and it can’t come soon enough ☀️

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thank you Harleygirl0685 for the excellent comments and accolades. It has been my experience that judges and juries respond best to simplicity. I love the art of complexity in written stanzas but usually complexity drains an argument of its persuasiveness. Therefore, it is always my goal here on AATT and in court to make my arguments very obvious and apparent. I am so happy you agree!

      Many people concur with your analysis that the dog is not the problem, it is the owner. To that end, the legislatures in many municipalities have enacted laws rendering owners solely liable regardless of negligence or fault.

  • Happy Valentine’s DAY

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Love the sweet image and sentiment, Doxing-Rx. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

    • Babyruth3944

      So sweet Valentine.

  • Stacy – great blog
    Kim is liable
    Bravo is not or the production company
    I feel bad for the victim. and the dog. not kim

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the blog, and I think most jurors seated will reconcile the facts and the law in exactly the same fashion as you. What do you think was the impetus for Kay to go after Bravo’s production company when it was clearly not liable under a theory of fraudulent concealment or misrepresentation?

  • Poo

    Stacy, I have read that the production crew had a steel crate delivered late last year and required Kim to lock Kingsley up while they were filming at her home. Would that make a difference in this case.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      It actually would not but thank you for relaying this tidbit for all of us to consider. The plaintiff alleges that Bravo aired footage that showed Kingsley being trained in order to counteract its aggressive behavior. Plaintiff maintains that precise footage made her believe Kingsley was not aggressive and therefore she took the risk of going to Kim’s home. Thus, the issue of the crew being scared of the dog does not move the scale one way or the other because plaintiff’s complaint concerns the way in which Bravo portrayed the temperament of the dog. Does that make sense? Any precautions they took for their own safety does not go to an element of plaintiff’s fraudulent concealment or misrepresentation allegations.

      • Poo

        Thankyou for the explanation and and I do follow the logic.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Perfect. I am glad my analysis above was helpful. If Bravo producers broke the fourth wall, told viewers on camera that the dog was gentle, and then Kay went to Kim’s house thinking Kingsley was non-aggressive and was bitten, that would very much change the game because in that scenario, producers held the dog out to the general public as safe even though they took safety precautions knowing the dog was dangerous.

          • Poo

            Let’s be honest, a good attorney goes for the best source to recompense their client. That is why Evolution got thrown in to the suit. What surprised me was the courts ruling to KEEP them in the suit.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            The only reason Evolution’s Motion to Dismiss was not granted is because Plaintiff amended her suit to include a claim against Evolution for intentional misrepresentation. Since the complaint was amended, Evolution’s original motion was deemed a nullity because it referenced the original complaint, which is no longer in play. I would be surprised if the court did not grant Evolution’s next Motion to Dismiss based on allegations contained in the amended complaint.

  • Poo

    I know this off topic but probably most of us who post here are wondering if you have any updates on Guidice vs Kridel

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I welcome all legal questions, Poo, anytime, anywhere. 🙂 I have had contact with some of the parties involved in this case. There are still items being negotiated (service of process and jurisdictional issues) that we will be reporting on shortly. AATT and I will liberally promote the next piece I do on the Giudice v. Kridel legal malpractice matter so stay tuned. The law moves slowly, but when justice prevails, it is well worth the wait.

      • Poo

        Thankyou Stacy, you are our go to attorney.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Thanks Poo. It is my honor. Hope you are having a great weekend in a warm climate. 🙂

  • Carmen Mitchell

    I think that this may be the end of Kim on RHWBH, I can’t see them (bravo) keeping her on if they are dragged into court over her poor lack of common sense pertaining to the dog.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I think that is an excellent observation, and I like your big picture thinking about the case. There is also the chance Bravo would LOVE to film the courtroom drama if it goes that far, but their legal counsel would probably advise against it. Kim is not trying to apportion blame to Bravo over the dog biting incident as her co-defendant, but the resulting legal action cannot be welcomed by Bravo at all. How it will effect Bravo’s future relationship with Kim as a cast member remains to be seen.

  • Suglo

    Evolution will most likely succeed in a Motion for Summary Judgment down the road. Kim Richatds won’t. She knew or should have known that dog was a menace & should be under constant supervision or locked up around strangers. We all saw that she couldn’t control the dog and even went as far as to think it was cute that the dog was out of control. She should settle the case before a jury feels bad for an 80 year old grandma & awards a huge judgment.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I agree with your analysis, Suglo. I do not see how plaintiff can show a triable issue of fact to survive Evolution’s anticipated Motion to Dismiss/Motion for Summary Judgment.

      I have a sneaking suspicion Kim did try and reason with Kay to avoid pain and suffering/punitive damages before Kay filed suit. Kim probably tried to resolve plaintiff’s medical bills but they did not have a meeting of the minds. Now Kim may be on the line for punitive damages.

      The California statutes governing punitive damages use exceptionally strong language to prescribe when punitive damages are appropriate. Punitive damages should be awarded where there is “clear and convincing evidence” that a defendant has behaved with “malice,” or has engaged in “despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.” Is this a case where punitive damages are appropriate since Kim obviously could not control the dog and sought professional dog training assistance?

      Unfortunately for Kim, knowledge is irrelevant as California is a state in which strict liability attaches in dog bite cases. If your dog bites someone, and they’re somewhere where they can be lawfully, then you’re strictly liable for the injury your dog causes.

  • Anne Mckinney-page

    This doesn’t bring into the discussion the other attacks from the dog. If any thing can be said… the dog’s attacks on the Trainer were well documented. After the attack this case references… Kingsley also attacked, and seriously injured one of Kyle’s adult daughters. Thank goodness it was not little Porshia…a s a dog like Kingsley could kill a child that small… or a frail, and elderly person that is now suing Kim. That dog is too dangerous to be kept in that home, any more.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thanks for your comments. As indicated in the article, Kay’s interpretation of the footage showing the dog attacking the trainer was unsupportive of her position that Bravo portrayed a gentle Kingsley to viewers. Moreover, evidence of other dog attacks is immaterial in California, and would not help Kay, because California has a strict liability statute. This means knowledge, negligence, and prior bites are not taken into account under California’s dog bite statute. There is no such thing as “one bite rule” or disputed liability. The law does not allow for a dog owner to dispute who was at fault – the dog owner is automatically responsible to pay for Kay’s damages.

      Alexia was bitten after Kay, so neither defendant could claim Kay should have known the dog was violent because an attack on Kim’s niece would have been liberally reported by the media.

  • Mustang

    Here’s my uneducated take; Ms. Rozario is attaching the Bravo producers for two reasons: 1) Deep pockets and 2) Being a friend of Kim’s, doesn’t want to cause her financial harm or give reason for her insurer to drop her like a boulder.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Your take, Mustang, is very educated indeed. Thanks for commenting as well as reaffirming some of the points I tried to hammer home in my blog.