The Atlanta Injury News Blog

Dogs Put Down While Owner Laid Up

A dog is a man's best friend. That's why a Forsyth man was understandably upset when the county euthanized his two dogs while he was laid up in a hospital bed.

Mitchell Greenway filed a civil suit against the county and hospital responsible for the incident, but a local judge cleared the hospital and the county of any wrongdoing. Now, an appeals court has revived Greenway's lawsuit, giving him another shot at receiving compensation for his loss, WSBTV reports.

About five years ago, Greenway was taken to Northside Forsyth Hospital after suffering a bad reaction to a pain medication. While laid up in bed at the hospital, Greenway says that a deputy demanded that he sign a release, giving the county possession of his two dogs.

Greenway's attorney, Bob McFarland, contends that Greenway was no state to sign a euthanasia form. McFarland points to the hospital's admission form which has a note that states that because of Greenway's condition he was "unable to sign" anything.

Regardless, the deputy obtained Greenway's signature and sent the dog's over to an animal shelter that euthanized the dogs only three days after taking custody of them. The shelter even ignored the protests of Greenway's neighbors. "Those dogs are his life. Please don't euthanize them. I'll give you $100. You want a bag of food? Please keep them alive," neighbor Don Green reportedly told the shelter.

Greenway, understandably angry about the situation, filed a lawsuit against the hospital and the county after being released. While a local judge initially dismissed the suit, an appeals court recently sided with Greenway, holding that a jury should decide whether the defendants were at fault.

Greenway will probably contend that the hospital was negligent in allowing the deputy to obtain his signature while he was in an impaired state. He will likely argue that the hospital had a duty to look out for not only his health but his overall well-being while under the hospital's care, and that by allowing Greenway to sign away his rights, the hospital breached that duty.

Greenway may also claim that the release form was unenforceable because he didn't have the mental capacity to sign it at the time. The hospital's admission form is pretty powerful evidence that Greenway lacked the capacity to surrender any of his rights while laid up in bed.

If Mitchell Greenway's lawsuit is successful, he'll likely be able to claim money damages stemming from the incident. While that may be little consolation for the loss of two best friends, hopefully it'll provide Greenway with some peace of mind.

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