Ryan Baker Quoted in Los Angeles Times Story About Extortion After Billionaire’s Dog Bites Woman

Partner Ryan Baker, speaking to the Los Angeles Times on April 16, 2024, about a Los Angeles billionaire and animal philanthropist suing a local designer for extortion, after the designer had attempted to settle her dog bite claims against the billionaire, stated, “[s]he can’t become her own private judge, jury and executioner.”

A dog bite situation at a popular Los Angeles dog park led to dueling legal claims of extortion and negligence. Baker reviewed the exchange between the dog owners for the LA Times to offer an opinion on whether their communications amounted to civil extortion, which under California law includes receiving a benefit such as money through the threatened exposure of any “disgrace or crime” even if falsely alleged.

Baker said that the victim had the right to pursue a private settlement under the threat of her own lawsuit, but if she threatened to report the other dog owner unless he met her demands she crossed a “bright line.” The jury will have to decide the “critical question” of whether the dog bite victim had extorted the money or had simply received and kept it.

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