Detroit Man Awarded $100 Million in Dog Attack Case
Steven Constantine, who was viciously attacked by a pack of dogs in October 2014, has been awarded $100 million in a civil lawsuit against the Derick Felton, the owner of the dogs. With such a large amount of money being awarded, it’s not known how much money Constantine will actually collect, but the judgment has been called, “…a largely symbolic statement against irresponsible dog owners.”
It’s unusual for dog bite and dog attack cases to result in such large judgements, but the attack on Steven Constantine went far beyond being an ordinary dog bite case; Judge Daphne Means Curtius said the case was, “one of the worst injury cases ever seen where the victim is still alive.” The attack caused Constantine to lose his left ear, much of his left arm, and his left leg below his knee.
On the night of October 2, 2015, Constantine was walking on the 45000 block of Pennsylvania street in Detroit when he saw Felton, who Constantine had previously been friendly with, and started talking to him. Felton was getting ready to feed his dogs so Constantine asked if he could help and Felton accepted the offer. But when Constantine started opening a bag of dog food, that’s when he was attacked by a pack of approximately 12 dogs. The dogs literally tried to eat Constantine alive; Constantine was pinned to the ground while the dogs tore into his flesh and ate large pieces of his muscles and tendons.
When EMS arrived on the scene, the dogs were so viciously attacking Constantine, the EMS workers tried stopping the attack by using the horn on the ambulance, but the dogs were so vicious, they were unable to help right away because they were afraid of being attacked themselves. Once police arrived, an officer started shooting a gun at the dogs, killing one of them. Constantine later accused Felton of not doing anything to help him, despite his desperate pleas for help.
Despite the severity of the attack, Constantine survived and has undergone dozens of surgeries. Recovering from such a severe attack isn’t easy, but Constantine considers himself fortunate and has been doing his best to remain optimistic despite an uncertain future. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press from December 2014, he said he hopes he will someday be able to have prosthetics to replace the limbs he lost and reach a point where he will be able to live independently with minimal assistance. Vijay Malichamy, senior rehab manager at Select Specialty Hospital in Mt. Clemens, told the Detroit Free Press that Steve is upbeat and has a positive attitude, which he believes will be very helpful in helping him overcome the challenges he’s facing.
Derick Felton was recently charged with three counts of harboring a dangerous animal causing serious injury. A trial date has been set for September 8 with a pretrial hearing on June 26. If convicted, Felton will be facing up to 12 years in prison.