Teenager Sues Joliet Catholic Academy for Dog Attack While Volunteering
PUBLISHED BY: LFN Primary
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) June 11, 2021 – A former student filed a personal injury lawsuit against a Joliet high school, alleging that she suffered serious injuries in a dog attack because of negligence in the organization and supervision of a service project.
Anais Turiello, 19, and her parents filed the complaint against Joliet Catholic Academy (JCA) at the Will County Courthouse. Court documents said the dog bite incident occurred when Turiello was delivering meals to senior citizens on August 11, 2017, as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
Turiello picked up her meal deliveries from the Will County Center for Community Concerns. One of her stops was the Joliet residence of Barbara Machias, 83, who police had previously cited “for negligent control of an animal.” According to the lawsuit, Machias’ dog “viciously and repeatedly” bit Turiello on the face. She suffered significant injuries that required surgery and ongoing medical treatment.
“Under Illinois law, dog owners carry full legal responsibility any time their dog causes an injury,” said Paul Greenberg, a personal injury attorney with Chicago law firm Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, who is not involved with the case. “The dog does not have to be of a dangerous breed for a dog attack victim to obtain compensation for their injuries. In this case, the plaintiff appears to have a valid claim for negligence as she was on the dog owner’s property for a lawful reason.”
The lawsuit identified six instances of negligence. JCA was accused of failing to make sure the houses selected for meal deliveries were safe. In addition, Turiello was sent to a residence that belonged to someone who had received a prior citation for negligent control of an animal.
Turiello was under the supervision of Rev. Jeffery Smialek and JCA campus minister Melisa Ferro. Smialek and Ferro were named co-defendants in the personal injury lawsuit because they were responsible for organizing and overseeing the service project. They were also in charge of ensuring the safety of Turiello and other student volunteers. Other co-defendants included the Diocese of Joliet, Kankakee County Community Services and Will County Center for Community Concerns.
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