Barking Dog May Cause Seattle Family to Lose Home

They ignored neighbor's lawsuit, lost default judgment
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2015 3:43 PM CST
Not Cawper: Just dogs being dogs at a rescue shelter in South Gate, Calif.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

(Newser) – Cawper is a dog, and dogs like to bark, and he lives among humans, and humans like to sue, and thus we have the short version of how a Seattle family might lose their house. As KOMO reports, Seattle resident Woodrow Thompson filed a $500,000 civil suit against Cawper's owners because he says the dog barks so much that Thompson suffers "profound emotional distress" at his home next door. Owner Denise Norton remembers getting served with the papers, but she ignored them because she didn't think Cawper barked that much, and it all seemed a little "bogus" to her. Big mistake.

"You can bring a frivolous lawsuit and win if the other side doesn't show up," a civil attorney not involved with the case tells the station. Thompson won a default judgment, and, much to Norton's surprise, soon "the sheriff comes, puts the papers on the garage and the wall and everything and saying they were going to put the house up for sale." She and her mother are now fighting to get the decision reversed. As Yahoo News observes, "like bullies and illnesses, lawsuits can be ignored, but they won’t go away." (A dog in Croatia is under court orders not to bark at night.)

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