There is an extremely high (and possible record for Colorado) award for the death of a pet n Denver. Robin Lohre will receive $65,000 from Push Maids for the death of her dog, Ruthie, after the cleaning crew let her out of the house and the dog was hit by a car.
Lohre runs the popular boutique Talulah Jones in Denver. She says that the maid service let the dog out and she was hit by a car. They never called a veterinarian or Lohre.
In class, we often discuss the limitations of the treatment of pets as chattel — allowing owners to recover only the market worth of the animals as opposed to their true worth as a family member. The only way to value a pet over the market price and costs is to cycle those costs through a pain and suffering claim by the owner. Lohre did make an emotional distress claim in this case. The high award in this case was secured with the help of a default judgment for failure of Posh Maids to appear.
Lohre said that she would take the dog when Posh Maids came to clean her home but was told that they would watch after the dog. After two-and-a-half hours, she received a call from the Maid Service that they were done. When she came home with her young daughter, she found Ruthie dead under a table. When she called the Maid Service, they admitted that she had been hit by a car but said that she was alive when they left her in the house “whimpering.” The owner of the maid service, Miranda Pallone, later said that she was trying to contact Lohre and that the dog limped back into the house on her own but was growling at the maids. She said that in such an “aggressive dog situation” she felt that she should have the maids leave the home. Pallone also said that she offered $2000 against the advice of her lawyer, but Lohre says that that is a lie and no such offer was ever made.
The judge found the Denver-based cleaning company, Posh Maids, responsible for the dog’s negligent death.
What is also interesting is that this was the first service with the company. Lohre had purchased a Living Social coupon for a three-hour housecleaning for Posh Maids at the discount price of $49. It will now cost the service $65,000.
The default is a surprising turn in the case. It is unclear why the company would not show up for the case unless Pallone did not want to testify under oath or had some other inhibition. Defaults not only deny the defendant an opportunity to deny liability but to reduce the amount of the award.
Source: Denver Channel