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Court revives dog-park injury case

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A state appeals court Thursday said a jury should hear a lawsuit filed by a dog-park volunteer who suffered a broken leg when a roughhousing dog collided with her.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with volunteer Deborah Davison, who appealed after a Nassau County circuit judge ruled that signs outside a dog park warned her of risks and that she assumed the risk of potential injury.

Davison filed the lawsuit against Rebecca Berg, whose dog collided with Davison while chasing other dogs, the appeals court said.

Circuit Judge Steven Fahlgren granted summary judgment in favor of Berg, but the appeals court overturned that decision and said the case should be decided by a jury.

“While there may be evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that Davison consented to the risk of injury, an actual consent or assumption of the risk defense cannot bar liability,” said the five-page ruling by appeals-court judges Stephanie Ray, Ross Bilbrey and Thomas Winokur. “Rather, the Legislature requires these facts to be presented to the jury for a determination of comparative negligence.”