HOWARD L. GREENLEE
SEVIER COUNTY, TENNESSEE
Session January 18, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Sevier County No. 2009-0302-IV O.
Duane Slone, Judge
action involves a claim for compensatory damages for personal
injury caused by a police dog. The defendant sought summary
judgment, arguing that the victim, an officer acting in the
course and scope of his employment, was a participant in the
act or conduct that prompted the need for the dog's
services, thereby removing liability pursuant to Tennessee
Code Annotated section 44-8-413(b)(1). The court agreed and
granted summary judgment. We reverse and remand for further
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Reversed; Case Remanded
W. Gilreath and Cary L. Bauer, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Howard L. Greenlee.
L. Bradshaw and Andrew N. Firkins, Knoxville, Tennessee, for
the appellee, Sevier County, Tennessee.
W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Charles D. Susano, Jr. and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ.,
W. McCLARTY, JUDGE
April 24, 2008, Officer Howard Greenlee
("Plaintiff"), while in the course and scope of his
employment for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, attempted a
traffic stop. The suspect fled on foot, prompting Plaintiff
to request assistance from the Sevier County Sheriff's
Office ("Defendant"). Defendant dispatched a K-9
unit, consisting of Deputy Blaine Lewis and a police dog
("Jodie"). The search for the suspect led Deputy
Lewis and Jodie to a mobile home, where the two went
underneath the home in pursuit of the suspect. Jodie emerged
first and subsequently attacked Plaintiff, who was standing
nearby, while Deputy Lewis remained underneath the home.
sustained significant injuries. He later filed suit, alleging
that Deputy Lewis and Defendant failed in their duty to keep
Jodie under reasonable control as required by Tennessee Code
Annotated section 44-8-413, which provides, in pertinent
part, as follows:
(a)(1) The owner of a dog has a duty to keep that dog under
reasonable control at all times, and to keep that dog from
running at large. A person who breaches that duty is subject
to civil liability for any damages suffered by a person who
is injured by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in
or on the private property of another.
(2) The owner may be held liable regardless of whether the
dog has shown any dangerous propensities or whether the
dog's owner knew or should have known of the ...