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Estacada woman sued for harboring dangerous duck

Attorney: Case expected to settle out of court


A $275,000 lawsuit filed against an Estacada duck owner spurred a flurry of pun-filled media headlines earlier this week.

The suit, filed Tuesday, April 22, in Clackamas County Circuit Court, claims Estacada resident Lolita Rose’s pet duck attacked Cynthia Ruddell while she was visiting her mother in Estacada in May 2012.

Ruddell lives in Washougal, Wash.

The duck allegedly attacked Ruddell when she stepped out of her mother’s motor home parked on her mother’s property in Estacada.

The suit alleges that Ruddell fell when trying to escape the duck and fractured bones in her right wrist, sprained and strained her shoulder and elbow, and sustained a rotator cuff injury.

Rose is accused of negligence for failing to maintain proper control of the duck, failing to warn neighbors of the duck’s “dangerous propensity in attacking individuals,” failing to contain the duck on her property and needlessly endangering the public.

Ruddell’s attorney, Gregory Price of Vancouver, said Rose’s insurance company has accepted full responsibility for the case.

“To use a sports metaphor, this is a slam dunk case in which liability is admitted and my client suffered a significant, objectively verifiable injury,” Price wrote in an email.

“I believe we have an excellent chance of resolving this claim with the insurance company without any further litigation once my client concludes treatment,” he added. “A settlement will not result in any personal liability for Mrs. Rose, but will be paid entirely by her insurance company under her homeowner’s policy.”

Price said the primary reason that a settlement has not been reached yet is because Ruddell’s treatment has not yet concluded so the total amount of her medical expenses as a result of the duck attack are not yet known.

However, the Oregon statute of limitations requires a settlement to be reached or a suit to be filed within two years of the incident.

“I learned my lesson and will refer to an attacking duck as an attacking animal in any future lawsuit,” Price added. “I am sure that will not gain the media attention as it doesn’t afford the same headline or sound bite potential.”

According to Clackamas County Circuit Court personnel, an attorney representing Rose has not been named. Rose could not be reached for comment.