Kim Richards will have to fork out a lot more money than she originally thought in the dog-bite case that has been dogging her for nearly three years. Richards must now pay former friend Ellen Catherine Rozario more than the original court-ordered amount of $4,000 for “distress damages” after an appeals court deemed damages to Rozario “unusually low,” according to The Wrap.
Kim Richards was sued by her longtime family friend in December 2014 after Rozario alleged that Kim’s pit-bull, Kingsley, attacked her while she was visiting the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star at her home. The lawsuit contended that Richards’ dog viciously attacked her elderly guest, resulting in “big gaping wounds” on her hand, arm, and back.
Rozario went on to appeal the district court’s damages calculation in the case, and the award of $4,000 was reversed after it was determined that the original distress and emotional damages judgement relied on awards from “decades-old cases,” was based on “incomplete analysis,” and that the damages awarded were actually “less than Rozario’s past medical costs.”
The appeals court also reversed a previous ruling on Rozario’s claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, determining that she sufficiently claimed “outrageous” behavior on Kim’s part. A memo from the appeal court read:
“Richards not only encouraged Rozario to pet the dog, a large pit bull; she did so despite knowing that ‘the dog was dangerous and vicious’ and ‘had previously bitten and attacked a person or persons,’ and she acted ‘with the intention to cause her severe emotional distress.'”
Rozario previously told TMZ Kim’s dog bit her hand all the way to the bone and that she successfully blocked an attack to her face. She also claimed Richards told her not to tell anyone about the incident for fear she’d lose her spot on RHOBH, and she alleged that Richards refused to help pay her medical bills.
In an interview posted by Radar Online, Rozario said that after she was mauled by Kim’s pitbull, the former child star refused to call 911 or animal control, despite the fact that her guest was covered in blood.
“Any normal person would call animal control to get rid of this animal, but instead she was laying on the floor playing with the pit-bull,” Rozario said.
According to Radar Online, Kim said that she was “shocked” by the lawsuit by her “lifelong friend” and claimed she immediately offered to handle all costs associated with the hospital visit but was told that would not be necessary because insurance covered all costs.
But in a statement posted by People, Kim Richards accused her ex-friend of selling multiple stories about her family and for participating in a scathing tell-all about the Richards and Hilton families, House of Hilton.
“This event took place on the morning of the first time I saw her in over 10 years after reconciliation for her part in the book,” Kim said.
“It’s unfortunate how people can go against decades of friendship when something like this happens and make their rounds to the media for money.”
Kim Richards was sued by her longtime friend shortly after Kingsley bit her niece, Alexia Umansky, the daughter of Kim’s sister and RHOBH co-star Kyle Richards. The teen required treatment at Cedars-Sinai Hospital after the attack.
After her niece was attacked, Richards said that while her protective dog is her best friend, the safety of her loved ones comes first.
“At this point, I am looking at options to what the next step is for Kingsley,” Kim said, according to E! News. “As many of you can relate, he is my best friend. This is a very difficult decision and time for all of us, but the safety of my family always comes first.”
Prior to Kingsley’s attacks, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fans saw the pitbull many time on the Bravo reality show and were privy to Kim’s issues with keeping him under control. One memorable episode of the show featured dog trainer David Utter as he tried to work with the out-of-control dog. Utter later went on record as saying he warned Kim that her dog should be muzzled at all times.
Take a look at the video below for more on Kim Richards’ dog lawsuit.
[Featured Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]