via The Inquisitr
Denise Norton of North Seattle may learn the hard way that you cannot ignore lawsuits even ones about a barking dog. Ignoring her neighbor’s lawsuit over her dog Cawper’s barking could now cost Norton her home.
Norton’s neighbor Woodrow Thompson filed a lawsuit that alleges that the sound of Cawper’s barking intentionally caused him “profound emotional distress.” Thompson filed a 36-page complaint claiming that Cawper’s “raucously, wildly bellowing, howling and explosively barking” could reach 128 decibels, reports Yahoo.
The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration states that a person should not be exposed to a noise of 115 decibels for more than 15 minutes a day. If Thompson’s claims about Cawper are true that means that his bark is louder than an ambulance siren and just short of being as loud as a jet engine at takeoff.
“In my head, everything was so bogus that he’d been doing, I don’t know why, I just didn’t think it was real or something,” Norton told the local ABC News.
Even when Norton was served papers about the lawsuit she did not reply.
The lawsuit was genuine and because Norton took no steps to challenge it Thompson was awarded $500,000 by default.
“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.
Norton and her family are now taking action in hopes of getting the decision reversed and saving their home.
Mike Fandel, a civil attorney who has no connection to this lawsuit states that winning a frivolous lawsuit is simple when the other side fails to respond, but he adds getting the decision reversed will not be an easy or inexpensive task, reports KOMO News.
“If you think it ought to be dismissed, it will only be dismissed if you ask the court to do it,” Fandel said.
Norton says that she made a big mistake, but is now determined to fix it. Norton adds that she takes full responsibility for not responding to the suit.
“How can you give somebody a half-a-million-dollar lien over a dog barking?” Norton asked, defending her beloved Cawper. “He’s just a loving, nice dog.”
Recently Norton noticed that Thompson had a camera on his awning pointing directly at her backyard.
“I don’t know if it’s fake or real or what, but it makes you want to not even go out in the yard,” she said.
The camera is part of the evidence Norton plans to bring to court, however right now that is on hold because the family has poured so much money into fighting the judgment.
A previous judge didn’t dismiss the case in part because of the family’s admitted financial troubles in the past.