Following the hundreds of words written by us and many other sources about dogs and their regular attacks on delivery men, there has been a new development this week in the media. In a groundbreaking legal case, a man whose dog bit a postman has been ordered to pay approximately £70,000 in legal fees, after this particular altercation ended up being dragged through the courts.
This has come about after Robert Townsend, a postman who was conducting his daily rounds in Fishburn, County Durham, was bitten by a pointer-setter cross breed called Rocky. The owner of the dog, a 64-year-old man called Paul Race, was initially offered the opportunity to settle out of court by lawyers, for as little as £6,000.
However, Mr Race refused to accept this compromise and instead contested the charge, stating that Rocky had only bitten Mr Townsend after the dog was hit by the postman’s satchel. As a result, this heated dispute has escalated greatly over time, ending up in a court battle which Mr Race has ultimately lost.
After the court case was finalised, Mr Race received a bill from the postman’s lawyers, stating that he is required to pay £68,538.02 in legal fees, although the dog owner’s solicitor maintains that this is excessive, saying the bite caused only a ‘minor cut’.
Mr Race, a landlord, has said that he worries he may not be able to pay the fees and that his home may be repossessed. He also mentioned that he felt a victim of the growing trend on Britain to involve no-win, no-fee personal injury lawyers.
He said ‘this bill highlights everything that is wrong with the no-win, no-fee compensation culture.’
Earlier this week, Mr Race lost his appeal against these fees, meaning he could end up paying out even more. The solicitor that represented him, Nathan Horsley, of Hedleys & Co in Sunderland, had this to say. ‘Mr Race made the decision to appeal based on Simpson Millar’s fees and the fact he didn’t agree with all that was said,’ he said.
‘We didn’t charge Mr Race to represent him at the appeal as we felt he was a victim of the no-win-no-fee compensation culture.’