Claim for dog bite dismissed by judge


A PIZZA delivery driver has told a judge that when he put his fingers through a letter box he was bitten by an Alsatian dog.

He told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that he had been delivering leaflets promoting take-away pizzas when the incident happened.

Arpit Khurana sued Dublin couple Vincent and Bernie Fitzgerald, of Windsor Terrace, Portobello, and Deano Foods Ltd., trading as Apache Pizza, Dame Street, Dublin, for €38,000 damages.

He told Circuit Court president Mr Justice Matthew Deery that on October 19th, 2009, he had called to the Fitzgeralds’ home and had approached the house through the front garden to push flyers into the letter box.

Mr Khurana (22), of Corn Exchange, Poolbeg Street, Dublin, said he had just put his hand through the letter box when he heard a loud bark and felt his fingers being snapped and pulled through the letter box. He felt an immediate pain to his finger and noticed he was bleeding.

He told barrister Philip Fennell, counsel for the Fitzgeralds, that he had not heard any dog barking as he approached the front door and had not seen any signs warning of a dog.

He denied in cross-examination by Mr Fennell that he may have injured his hand when he pulled his fingers quickly out of the letter box after having heard the dog growl or bark.

Medical reports revealed that Mr Khurana had suffered an injury to the ring finger of his right hand that required stitching.

Mr Fitzgerald said he was working in a room above the front door that day and was not aware of any incident. He had not heard anyone knocking. Ms Fitzgerald, also a defendant, did not give evidence.

Mr Justice Deery, dismissing Mr Khurana’s claim against both defendants, said that in the case of Apache Pizza, Mr Khurana had been acting as an independent contractor. With regard to the case against the Fitzgeralds, he said Mr Khurana had no legal permission to put his hand through the letter box and he was not satisfied the incident had happened as outlined by him.