A North Bay woman has filed an unusual lawsuit in Marin County Superior Court that includes a claim against the parents of an ex-boyfriend who bit off part of her ear when he was 19.
The civil lawsuit alleges although Dakota Jones was an adult at the time of the attack, his parents are liable on grounds of negligent supervision and upbringing of their son.
It alleges that the parents, Nicholas Arroyos and Shelley Jones, "failed to take proper precautions to prevent their son's unlawful conduct that harmed others."
The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 17, also includes claims against Jones for assault, battery, domestic violence and negligence.
The incident occurred in the victim's temporary school residence in San Luis Obispo County on Oct. 12, 2013, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that Jones let himself into the victim's room in an intoxicated state, slammed her against the floor and then against a wall, latched onto her right ear "in an animalistic rage" and bit off most of the earlobe and half of the area above the earlobe.
Jones also bit the victim on the right arm and shoulder, the lawsuit says.
He was sentenced to one year in San Luis Obispo County Jail for mayhem and battery with intent to cause serious bodily injury, according to the lawsuit.
Robert Fordiani, a lawyer for the plaintiff, said Jones was released from jail on Feb. 19 after serving six months of the sentence.
The lawsuit says the victim believes that at the time of the attack, Jones was living with his father in Marin County and was under the care and supervision of his father and/or mother.
Fordiani said he doesn't know of other cases in which the parents of an adult child have been held responsible for their child's action, but said the victim's attorneys are hoping the case will establish a legal precedent.
"We're trying to clarify whether parents who should have known their child has violent propensities can be held responsible," the attorney said.
Although Jones was an adult when he attacked the victim, the lawsuit contends the parents can be held liable because his violent conduct allegedly began when he was a minor, he was close to the age of being a minor at the time of the attack and he was allegedly under their care and supervision at the time.
A Superior Court hearing on the case is scheduled for April 28.
Fordiani said the victim is now living and working in the North Bay. He said her ear was partially repaired after extensive surgery but "will never be quite the same."
The attorney said Jones was served with the lawsuit the day before he was released from jail. He said the father's last known address was in Marin County and the mother lives in Texas.
Fordiano works with the Belli Law Firm, founded in San Francisco by the late Melvin Belli and now located in Mill Valley.