TAMPA FL - A 2012 PIT BULL ATTACK ON A 6-YEAR-OLD GIRL HAS LED TO A SETTLEMENT OF NEARLY $1 MILLION
The settlement, reached last month, is now the subject of a legal dispute between the owners of a company found responsible for the attack and their insurance carrier.
Lynda and Joseph Coyle, owners of Coyle Construction, want United Specialty Insurance Company to help pay the settlement of $945,000, arguing in recently filed court documents that the amount puts Coyle at risk of financial ruin. But United Specialty has previously declined to provide coverage.
The case stems from a dog attack two days after Thanksgiving 2012 on a South Tampa property shared by Coyle Construction and two other businesses at 5220 S Lois Ave.
Joseph Huffman, 32, worked for one of the businesses, Hollywood Services, and was returning a vehicle there with his 6-year-old daughter, Sierra Lynn, when a PIT BULL named "Scooby" attacked her, according to court documents.
A Tampa police report noted the girl was covered in blood when officers arrived. She had several lacerations to her right cheek and a deep laceration to a right eyelid. She suffered facial scarring and nerve damage, according to court documents.
Huffman and his wife, Amanda, in 2013 sued three companies, their owners, and a man who lived at the property, arguing that they were aware of a dangerous dog roaming the property and did not erect signs or other warnings.
The case against Hollywood Services was dismissed in 2015. The status of the suit against the other defendants is unclear. It is also unclear from court filings who owned the dog, which was euthanized 10 days after the attack.
In November, a judge ruled that Coyle Construction could be held responsible for about $1.5 million in damages, but a settlement was negotiated for less.