Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a case discussing under what circumstances a landlord can be responsible for injuries caused by her tenants’ dogs. The case is important for New Mexico personal injury plaintiffs because it discusses the issue of third-party liability, which can be very important in New Mexico personal injury cases.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the defendant landlord rented a home to a family (“the tenants”) who had three dogs. The landlord had rented the home to the tenants for several years, and knew the tenants’ dogs. One day, the tenants arranged to have friends over for dinner (“the guests”). The tenants told the guests that they left the side door unlocked, and that the guests should wait inside the home in the event the guests arrived at the house before the tenants.
Evidently, the guests arrived at the home before the tenants and entered through the unlocked side door. As the guests opened the door, the tenants’ three dogs bolted out the door. The dogs attacked the plaintiff, who was walking his dog in the neighborhood.