A judge in Forsyth County awarded a mail carrier $1 million in damages after she was attacked by NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield’s five dogs. Mayfield has been no stranger to legal trouble. He recently had had his home auctioned after he failed to pay the $3 million debt he owed on the property. He is also facing several criminal charges for drug possession and larceny in three different North Carolina counties. He was recently suspended from NASCAR for failing the organization’s substance abuse policy.
The judge, William Z. Wood, awarded the mail carrier, Mary E. Bolton, $1 million after she filed a lawsuit against Mayfield and his wife Shana Mayfield. The Mayfields failed to answer the plaintiff’s complaint and never bothered to appear in court. Thus, a default judgment was entered against the couple and the judge set the amount of damages.
Bolton’s complaint claims that Mayfield and his wife were negligent when they allowed their dogs to be loose on their property. On the morning of April 21, 2011, Bolton was delivering mail on her normal route. She was delivering a package to the Mayfield residence that was too big to fit into the mailbox on the side of the road, outside of the gate to the Mayfield residence. Bolton proceeded to drive her mail truck into the gate. Posted at the entrance to the gate were “No Trespassing” and “Beware of Dog” signs. She drove past those signs and onto the Mayfield property. It was then that she was attacked by the Mayfields’ dogs. Mayfield heard the attack and quickly came to Bolton’s aid. The dogs were confiscated and later euthanized. Bolton was taken to Catawba Medical Center to be treated for her injuries.
As a result of the attack, Bolton suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She also has nerve damage and was forced to miss several months of work. She claimed that she lost nearly $15,000 in wages because of her injuries.
Mayfield told reporters that he offered to pay Bolton’s medical expenses, but her attorney turned down that offer. From the facts as told to the News Herald, it seems that Mayfield may have been able to successfully defend against the lawsuit had he retained a personal injury lawyer, and answered the Complaint. However, because he did not show up to defend against the suit, the court only had the plaintiff’s Complaint as evidence on which to base a judgment and damages.