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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress is being sued for an alleged dog attack. The suit seeks money not for the dog's bite, but for injuries that allegedly befell the other dog's owner.
Gina Boulougouris Stasinos claims she was seriously hurt when Buress' pit bull knocked her over while it allegedly attacked her dog. Buress wasn't present during the scuffle, but NJ.com reports it occurred outside his Totowa, New Jersey, home. Stasinos' pup sustained minor injuries.
But Stasinos isn't suing over her dog's injuries at all. Rather, she's seeking compensation for her own medical expenses -- and her husband's alleged "loss of consortium" with her after the canine run-in.
What Is Loss of Consortium?
In the dog attack lawsuit against Plaxico Burress, Gina Stasinos claims she suffered permanent injuries to her body, head, and limbs. If the case goes to trial, medical experts will likely be called to help prove those claims; those injuries aren't mentioned in a police report about the incident, according to Passaic Valley Today.
Stasinos' husband is also alleging that after the dog attack, he "has lost and will lose" his wife's "services, society, companionship and consortium," Passaic Valley Today reports.
Loss of consortium is a fancy legal term for loss of affection and normal marital relations. Basically, Stasinos' husband is claiming that since the alleged dog attack, whenever he gets that feeling, there will be no sexual healing.
Difficult to Prove?
To prove a loss of consortium, the victim's spouse has to show that he's been deprived of the benefits of married life, such as affection and sexual relations, because of the dog attack. Courts will consider the "value" of the loss by looking at factors such as:
The more serious the victim's injury, the greater the chance a court will grant damages for loss of consortium with the victim.
So in Stasinos' case, if Gina had been left comatose by the alleged dog attack, then loss of consortium could indeed result in a large jury award. However, news reports do not go into detail about how Gina's alleged injuries have affected her marriage.
Like other dog attack plaintiffs, however, Stasinos is also seeking compensation for other types of damages. These likely include lost wages and medical expenses, which are much easier to prove.
Plaxico Burress has yet to comment publicly about the dog attack lawsuit, but he's probably getting some sound legal advice at home: His wife Tiffany, who's also named in the lawsuit, works as a personal injury lawyer in New York, NJ.com reports.