LILBURN -- A Gwinnett County jury awarded a $25,000 settlement to a Lilburn woman who claims that a 2005 trampling by a neighbor's Labrador Retrievers has caused her lingering health issues.
Jurors rendered a verdict in favor of plaintiff Bev Gray, 63, after a two-day civil trial wrapped last week. The case had been delayed for several years by various legal complications and a mistrial last year, declared after a courtroom outburst by one of her opponents, Gray said.
Gray won pain and suffering damages, lost wages and medical expenses in a suit against James and Kimberly McLendon, who live around the corner from her in Lilburn's Rivercliff subdivision.
About 11 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2005, Gray was walking her Sheltie, Desiree, and her daughter's chocolate Labrador, Romeo, around the neighborhood prior to going to bed. She claims that two black Labrador mixes under the Mclendons' watch darted into the street and attacked her dogs, throwing her to the ground.
Gray was bitten on her left leg, tore her meniscus and suffered cartilage damages in the fracas, the suit states. The defendants countered that Gray's version of the ordeal, and her subsequent injuries, were exaggerated, according to court documents. Gray's suit points to local leash laws that she claims were violated.
An attorney for the defendants, Laura Maki, did not return a call for comment this week, nor did Gray's attorney, Kenneth Sissel.
Gray teaches dancing, karate and gymnastics at daycare centers with a company she owns called ABC In Motion. She said she plans to save the $25,000 settlement for the knee surgery she's been putting off since the incident.
"I have good days and bad days," said Gray. "I'm self-employed. The bills don't get paid if you don't go to work."
Gray is no stranger to animal controversy.
In the late 1990s, she was dubbed the "Cat Lady of Lilburn" by metro Atlanta media after her penchant for harboring cats on her property caused a flap with neighbors and then Gwinnett County Animal Control. The case spurred the review of animal ordinances governing the number of cats allowed on a property, she said.
"I got citations for so many little kitties," Gray said. "This was a media firestorm."