German Shepherd dog attack case continues despite death of two of its defendants

By Nicholas Malfitano | Apr 18, 2019


PHILADELPHIA – The case of a local man arranging Christmas decorations outside his home in 2017, who alleged his neighbors’ German Shepherd dogs attacked and injured him without provocation, is headed to arbitration this summer – though two of the defendants are now believed to be deceased.

Through administrative order and after a continuance, Olsi Profka’s case was rescheduled for a hearing at the Arbitration Center on JFK Boulevard in Center City, Philadelphia on July 8.

However, on April 9, plaintiff counsel Todd B. Jacobs filed documents suggesting defendants Nicholas Scelzi and Kathleen Scelzi had passed away last month, along with including attached obituaries for each individual. That leaves John Scelzi as the lone remaining defendant.

Profka, of Philadelphia, first filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on May 1, 2018 against the three members of the Scelzi family, all also of Philadelphia.

“On Dec. 8, 2017, plaintiff Olsi Profka was lawfully setting up Christmas lights in front of his house... when the defendants’ two German Shepherds did viciously and without warning, attack, bite and otherwise injure plaintiff without provocation,” the suit read.

Profka further alleged the defendants had a history of allowing the dogs outside of their property without leashes, that the dogs had a history of attacking human beings without provocation and had a propensity to do the same.

Profka claimed the defendants were negligent in keeping dogs of a vicious nature, permitting the dogs to attack him and failing to properly restrain and/or muzzle them, among other charges – and a result, suffered disfigurement, puncture wounds, lacerations, bruising, swelling and various other injuries to his left abdomen, right shoulder, knees, neck and right wrist.

In an answer to Profka’s complaint filed June 11, the Scelzis denied his allegations that the dogs involved in this case had a history of attacking human beings, explained they exercised due care in restraining the dogs prior to the incident in question and emphasized their conduct was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Following up on the Scelzis’ response and new matter, Profka replied the very next day on June 12 to deny the defendants’ legal conclusions and allegations.

For counts of strict liability and negligence, the plaintiff is seeking damages, jointly and severally, in an amount within the arbitration limits.

The plaintiff is represented by Todd B. Jacobs of the Law Offices of Todd B. Jacobs, in Philadelphia.

The defendant is represented by George Gossett Jr., also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180404807

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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