In January 2001, two dogs killed Diane Whipple of San Francisco as she tried to enter her apartment. In the year that followed, shocking details emerged about the case, and criminal charges ranging all the way to murder were filed against the owners of the dogs, Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel. In March 2002, the jury convicted Knoller of second degree murder, and Noel of involuntary manslaughter (both were also found guilty on additional, lesser charges). Noel was sentenced to 4 years in prison and did not appeal. Knoller appealed. In May 2007, the California Supreme Court upheld Knoller's murder conviction. In September 2008, the trial court sentenced her to 15 years to life in prison. In February 2016, the federal court of appeals upheld the state's conviction by declining Knoller's petition for a writ of habeas corpus

Attorney Kenneth Phillips, the author of Dog Bite Law, appeared regularly on CNN, CourtTV, and network television, giving extensive commentaries on the criminal trial as it took place. This section of Dog Bite Law was referred to as "the bible of the trial" and is the most comprehensive source of information about it, containing summaries of testimony, names of witnesses, legal analysis of the charges, clarification of the appellate case, and much more.