Preparing and Trying the Dog Bite Case (On Demand Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 04/30/2024


A pre-recorded streaming video replay of the March 2021 webcast, Preparing and Trying the Dog Bite Case.

Why Attend?

  • Learn the law associated with injuries caused by pet dogs
  • Understand how the dog’s previous behavior might affect liability
  • Plan to present the best case—for either the plaintiff or the defendant

Dogs are man’s best friend: nearly 40% of households in the United States have at least one dog. Unfortunately, well over 4 million people suffer dog bites each year, and the great majority of those are from dogs that they know. Whether the victim requires medical attention or not, the experience is traumatic for all concerned—owner, victim, and even the dog.

It is no surprise that dog bite–related litigation is commonplace, or that legislatures across the country are making significant revisions to their laws. Our speakers, Rhonda Quagliana (for the plaintiff) and Rachel Horvath (for the defense), will update you on important legislative changes in Virginia dog law, and then show you the best way to handle cases of your own.

They will cover the elements for a cause of action for a dog bite (duty, violation, and cause) and damages that may be awarded for injuries. In addition, they will answer these questions:

  • What do dangerous dogs and sex offenders have in common?
  • Do dogs have a right of self-defense/defense of others?
  • What can you do if you catch the neighbor’s dog chasing your chickens?
  • Is it criminal for the state to take your pets away?
  • Recently, how have dogs made legal news?
  • When is a dog “vicious” and when is it merely “dangerous”?
  • Does a dog have a right to a jury trial?  If so, does he get a jury of his peers?
  • When a “dangerous” dog moves, must he leave a forwarding address?
  • Are parents liable for the torts of their children's dogs?
  • Following a divorce, who “owns” the dog for purposes of liability?
  • What civil liberties do owners of “dangerous” dogs relinquish?
  • May a locality ban pit bulls?

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Rachel D.G. Horvath
, Smith Bain Manuel Horvath / Charlottesville
Rhonda Quagliana, MichieHamlett / Charlottesville


Rachel D.G. Horvath, Smith Bain Manuel Horvath / Charlottesville
Rachel Horvath focuses her practice on civil litigation, including medical malpractice defense, coverage and defense, other personal injury defense, commercial litigation, and residential and commercial landlord/tenant litigation. She also represents health care providers in response to Department of Health Professions complaints, including the Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, and Board of Dentistry. She graduated from Tulane University in 2007 and the University of Virginia School of Law in 2010.

Ms. Horvath has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for Medical Malpractice Defense every year since 2016. She has been an active member of the Thomas Jefferson Inn of Court, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association, and the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys. She is a graduate of the 2014 class of Leadership Charlottesville, and she serves on the Advisory Committee on Rules of Court of the Supreme Court of Virginia. She lives in Charlottesville with her husband, two sons, and dog.

Rhonda Quagliana, MichieHamlett / Charlottesville
Rhonda Quagliana leads MichieHamlett's complex criminal and Title IX practice. For over 25 years, she has represented individuals and corporate clients in some of the highest-profile criminal and civil cases in Virginia's state and federal courts.

Ms. Quagliana represents clients in white collar and other criminal matters at all stages of the proceedings from grand jury investigations through trial. In her complex criminal practice, she has exonerated clients charged with fraud, conspiracy, sexual assault, and murder in both state and federal court. Clients facing serious allegations in criminal cases benefit from her unyielding determination, attention to detail, and understanding of the law. Leaving no stone unturned, she engages investigators, experts, focus groups, and other professional consultants to successfully defend complex criminal matters.

Ms. Quagliana defends faculty, students, and staff in administrative proceedings, including college and university discipline matters, such as Title IX investigations. Recognizing that the outcome can completely reshape the life of her clients, she works tirelessly to bring balance and a vigorous defense to a process that all too often completely ignores the rights of the accused. In fact, she was the first attorney to successfully challenge the University of Virginia's Title IX policy in a federal court. In the high-stakes nature of these proceedings, her more than 25 years of legal experience serves to protect her clients' reputation, academic endeavors, and future employment prospects. Clients depend on her sound advice and experience as a criminal defense attorney to mitigate a potential prosecution stemming from the allegations.

In addition to her leadership within the bar, Ms. Quagliana is active in her community. She has served as president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association and on its Board of Directors. She has served on non-profit boards, including serving as a past president of Charlottesville-Albemarle Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ("CASPCA") and Region Ten Local Human Rights Committee. She also generously gives her time to provide pro-bono legal services to indigent clients.

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