Dr. Phil being sued by friend who was bitten by his dog

Janet Harris, a Los Angeles-based skin care specialist who is a frequent guest on “Dr. Phil” and a friend of the family, was apparently bitten by a dog while visiting Phil and Robin McGraw. Harris claims she suffered a severe infection from the attack that led to permanent hearing loss.

According to reports, Harris was visiting the McGraws in December 2009 when she was bitten on the arm by the couple’s dog, Maggie. The dog is a member of a Korean breed called a Jindo.

After the dog bite incident, Harris says, the arm injury became severely infected. She took antibiotics, which caused a hearing loss. As a result of the deafness, Harris was forced to close her lucrative skin care business, putting her finances in turmoil.

McGraw claims the dog bite was not very serious, but ended friendship

When Harris told the McGraws she had been bitten, they passed along their homeowners insurance information and paid for Harris to take a vacation in Hawaii. However, the McGraws say Harris never filed an insurance claim.

“Over a year ago as our dog Maggie . . . was asleep on the floor in our home, she was inadvertently startled and snapped as a result,” Robin McGraw said in a statement. Robin also released photos of the dog bite injuries allegedly taken the day of the incident, as well as photos taken 10 days later.

“As the photos taken at the time show, it was minor,” McGraw said. “In fact, Janet stayed and visited, petting Maggie.”

Harris’s personal injury lawyer says the incident was far from minor.

“She’s had loss of earnings. She lost her business over the dog-bite incident,” he told The New York Post.

“Janet stayed in touch with Robin [after the incident] . . . everybody knew Robin and Janet were best friends . . . but after a few months Janet said to Robin that she was really worried, that she’s got a house payment, a kid in school and she didn’t know what to do.

“She didn’t get a real positive answer from Robin and felt abandoned.”

As that statement indicates, the dispute over the dog bite incident has apparently put stress on the friendship, although the McGraws see no reason for the lawsuit.

“Phillip and I have taken care of Janet,” Robin McGraw said. “Janet is a friend and we continue to wish her well.”

Source: The New York Post, “That bites! Family friend sues Dr. Phil over dog nip,” Michael Starr, February 4, 2011