Vail Justice recently obtained a settlement of $1,000,000 on behalf of its clients Renee and Stephen Legro in a lawsuit filed against Samuel and Cheri Robinson.
On July 9, 2008, Renee Legro was participating in a mountain bike race in the Camp Hale area sponsored by the Vail Recreation District when she was viciously attacked by two large Great Pyrenees dogs owned by ranchers Samuel and Cheri Robinson. The Great Pyrenees dogs were working as animal protection dogs guarding sheep at Camp Hale. The dogs attacked Mrs. Legro without warning or provocation, and mauled Mrs. Legro, causing life-long injuries and substantial economic damages. Another one of the Robinsons’ animal protection dogs attacked and bit another bicycle rider in Camp Hale, Nicole Miller, a few days before the attack on Mrs. Legro.
Due to this attack, Mr. Robinson was criminally convicted twice by Eagle County jurors for unlawful ownership of dangerous dogs after two separate trials. The Legros filed their civil lawsuit in Eagle County District Court on April 20, 2010.
Trial was originally scheduled for June 6, 2011; however, Judge Frederick Gannett, the Eagle County District Court Judge, dismissed the case, ruling that the Premises Liability Act, and not the civil dog bite statute, controls this case. The Legros won two separate appeals to the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court, which both indicated that it was error to dismiss the victim’s claims.
Trial was then rescheduled for March 10, 2015. Unbelievably, the Eagle County District Court dismissed Mrs. Legro’s dog bite statute claim again, and further classified Mrs. Legro as a “Trespasser” at the time of the attack when she was participating in a Vail Recreation District bicycle race on public land in Camp Hale. The Legros were forced to appeal again, and on December 31, 2015; the Colorado Court of Appeals overturned Judge Gannett’s second dismissal of the case. The Legros agreed to a $1,000,000 policy limits settlement from the Robinsons’ insurance company shortly thereafter.
“Mrs. Legro endured an incredibly painful and life threatening attack by two large dogs trained to kill large predators. She sustained multiple permanent injuries including fractured bones and repeated dog bites that required hundreds of stitches to close,” said her attorney Joseph D. Bloch. Mr. Bloch continued, “These types of dogs had no business being in Camp Hale during the busy tourist and recreation season. The settlement will help the Legros, but does not come close to fully compensating Renee and the family for the attack.”
This case is very significant as it resulted in three published appellate court decisions, clarified the use of animal protection dogs on public lands, which are widespread in this state, and determined the land interests of animal ranchers in Colorado. There have been problems with animal protection dog attacks throughout Colorado for years.
This case has received local and national attention over the past 7-plus years because of the dynamic issues it raises regarding mixed use of public lands by ranchers and recreationists. This case has also been closely watched by the ranching and sheep herding industries that use animal protection dogs to guard their livestock from natural predators. Prior news articles from the Denver Post and Los Angeles Times published about this case are attached hereto.
Please direct any future inquiries to Joseph D. Bloch at 970-926-1700 (office), 303-808-5776 (cellular telephone) via this website.