Diane Whipple's mother brought a wrongful death claim against Noel and Knoller, and also against Rudolph and Annette Koppl, building owners, and Marina Green Properties Inc., the property management firm for the 40-unit building on Pacific Avenue in San Francisco.
A residential landlord in California is not liable for dog-related injuries unless it is proved that (a) the dog had a history of doing the kind of thing that caused the present injury, (b) the landlord had actual knowledge of the dog's history, (c) the landlord had an opportunity to control the dog or evict the owners of the dog, and (d) as a result of the landlord's failure to do so, the injuries happened. There were many people who came forward to say that these Presa Canario dogs were vicious, but nobody said that he or she complained to the landlord. In fact, some of the witnesses said that they didn't complain to anyone at all. Without proof that the landlord had actual knowledge of the viciousness of the dogs, therefore, the landlords could not be held liable.
Nevertheless, the case was settled, and the terms of the settlement were made confidential.