A Bend woman is suing two Bend residents for $257,317 for failing to protect her from their allegedly aggressive and dangerous house cat.

Jenifer Holland says in her lawsuit she was hired in 2015 to clean a home on Dempsey Drive in northeast Bend, and while doing so was attacked by a cat. Holland alleges the cat bit her finger, leading to two surgeries and $107,317 in medical bills. The lawsuit does not describe the injury or surgeries.

Court records do not list an attorney for defendants Sarah Reynolds-Jackson and Joshua Chambers. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.

In the lawsuit, filed Oct. 13 by Salem attorney Michael Smith, Holland alleges Reynolds-Jackson and Chambers knew their cat was dangerous and aggressive, but failed to inform her of this before she came to clean the house. Holland alleges that prior to the cleaning, she did a walk-through of the home with Reynolds-Jackson and at no point were the cat’s aggressive tendencies discussed.

On Oct. 14, 2015, Holland let herself in the house using a hidden key, per the arrangement, the lawsuit states. At that point, the cat ran out the door. Holland tried to coax the cat back in the home, the lawsuit states, and when she knelt down to call the cat, it bit her finger.

According to the lawsuit, after the attack Reynolds-Jackson and Chambers admitted to knowing the cat was aggressive and didn’t like people. The lawsuit states the defendants had a legal duty to inform Holland of this before she came in contact with the allegedly ferocious feline.

In addition to medical damages, Holland is seeking $125,000 for physical and mental pain and suffering, as well as $25,000 for lost wages due to the injury. The lawsuit alleges the bite caused an infection.

When reached Wednesday, Smith declined to discuss the injury or what sort of surgery was performed, other than to say the medical bills exceeded $100,000.

“The injuries were what they were,” he said.

The cat-bite suit isn’t the only lawsuit Holland filed Oct. 13. She is also suing her son and his insurance company over injuries she says she sustained in a car accident in October 2015. Holland was a passenger in a 2015 Chevrolet Sonic eastbound on U.S. Highway 26 north of Warm Springs, driven by her son, Taylor Samuel, according to Smith. Samuel allegedly caused an accident, injuring Holland.

Holland filed suit against Samuel and American Family Insurance. According to the lawsuit, American Family Insurance refused to pay Holland’s claim. The lawsuit gives no further information on the accident, but Smith said it was a single-vehicle accident and that Samuel veered off the side of the road. Court records indicate there were no criminal charges or citations.

“The auto insurance company obviously has not offered an amount we believe is fair,” Smith said.

The lawsuit says Samuel failed to maintain a proper lookout, failed to control the vehicle and drove at an excessive speed. It says Holland incurred “tearing, twisting, wrenching, and injury to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, nerves, and other tissues of his/her head, neck, shoulders, and back; headaches; dizziness, neck and shoulder pain; numbness and tingling and other neurological deficits in the upper extremities; back pain; and cervical, thoracic, and lumbar strain/sprain.”

Holland is seeking $8,683 for medical expenses. She is also seeking $12,500 for loss of enjoyment to her lifestyle and attorney’s fees.

This is not the first time Holland has sued an insurance company after a claim was refused. Online court records show Holland sued American Family Mutual Insurance in 2004 in Multnomah County.

The case was dismissed about five months after it was brought forth. Court records do not provide any further details.

— Reporter: 541-383-0376, awieber@bendbulletin.com

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