And the unhappy neighbor filed a lawsuit. The problem for Cawper’s owner is that she did not respond to the suit; she thought it was all a joke. Now, the joke is on dog owner, Denise Norton, because she failed to challenge the suit.
But that is not the half of it – the plaintiff, Woodrow Thompson, was awarded, in a default judgement, a half-million dollars because Norton did not show up in court, and she failed to file any response to the suit. 500-thousand dollars!
Cawper, who is a lovely part-Labrador Retriever, is apparently very loud. If you are a Lab-lover, you know their barking can sometimes raise the roof. Thompson’s 35-page complaint claims that the dog’s barking raised more than his roof.
The suit alleges that Cawper is known for “wildly bellowing, howling and explosively barking.” And that his barking caused “profound emotional distress” for Mr. Thompson. The complaint also claims that Cawper is capable of barking at 128 decibels through double-paned windows. That would make him louder than a chainsaw, and just a tad quieter than a military jet, according to Purdue University researchers.
Norton says she is just torn up about all of this. She says she was indeed served with papers, but thought the whole thing was a big joke. She says, “In my head, I just thought everything was so bogus that he’d been doing, I don’t know why, I just didn’t think it was real or something.”
She knew it was real when the King County, Washington Sheriff showed up. “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,” Norton said.
Apparently, you can file a frivolous lawsuit and win – if the other party fails to respond. Norton has hired lawyers and is fighting this judgment hoping to have the decision reversed.
And Cawper, bless his heart, doesn’t have a clue. What do you think about this judgment? What would you do if a neighbor’s dog’s barking was causing you emotional distress and sleepless nights?