Retired nurse sues for $275,000 in Oregon pet duck attack

OLYMPIA, Washington Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:08am IST

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OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - A woman visiting her mother in Oregon is suing her neighbor, seeking $275,000 for pain, suffering and other damages she says were inflicted when a pet duck ambushed her for no apparent reason.

Cynthia Ruddell, 62, of Washougal, Washington, was on her mother's property in Estacada, Oregon, about 25 miles southeast of Portland, when a neighbor's duck attacked her without provocation, according to the suit filed in Oregon state court last Friday.

In her attempt to run away from the agitated waterfowl, Ruddell fell to the ground, breaking her right wrist and spraining an elbow and shoulder, the suit claims. The incident occurred in May of 2012.

The complaint accuses the bird's owner, Lolita Rose, of failing to maintain control of her pet or "to warn or otherwise inform neighbors of her duck's dangerous propensity in attacking individuals."

Ruddell, a retired nurse, is seeking up to $275,000 in damages, including roughly $25,000 for medical expenses, with the remainder being for pain, suffering and the toll her injuries have taken on her daily life.

Ruddell's lawyer, Gregory Price, said it was his understanding that Rose had her duck killed after the incident.

Rose could not be reached for comment on the case.

Price said he expects the damages will ultimately be paid by Rose's insurance policy, but filing a lawsuit was necessary as a precaution because of continuing medical bills from a second surgery on his client's wrist and a two-year statute of limitations on such claims.

Along with the lingering effects of the attack, the legal case has brought Ruddell a measure of unwanted attention, her attorney said.

"I've learned a lesson," he said. "In any future lawsuit I'll talk about my client being attacked by a domestic animal. Not by a duck."

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Steve Gorman, Eric Walsh and Gunna Dickson)

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