A man locked in a cross-border dispute with his former flame over possession of a small dog won a round in court Tuesday when a judge ruled that he can move forward with all of the allegations in his lawsuit against the woman.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet said lawyers for Toronto advertising executive Paul Wallace had presented enough details to support their client’s claims for deceit and intentional infliction of emotional distress in his lawsuit against Alexandra Wells. The judge also ruled that Wallace can seek punitive damages.
Wallace is vying with Wells for permanent custody of “Berryhill Thinkingmans Crumpet,” the name given the smooth-coated Brussels Griffon that Wallace bought in July 2011 for $1,237 from a well-known Canadian breeder.
Wallace posted the female pooch’s face on Instagram, and the canine has made numerous other appearances on social media.
Wallace started the litigation by suing Wells, of Los Angeles, in June 2015. He says Wells paid him $650 for her interest in the pet, but later relinquished her ownership claim. The Brussels Griffon breed, also known as Griffon Bruxellois, is a stock of toy dog named for Brussels, Belgium.
Wallace and Wells dated from August 2008 until May 2013 and lived together in Toronto, according to his suit. In April 2012, Wells said she was temporarily moving to Los Angeles for five months, but would return, while Crumpet remained in Toronto with Wallace, his court papers say.
But Wells did not return, and in May 2013 told Wallace that she would remain in Los Angeles, but missed Crumpet and asked that she be allowed to have the pet for a while in the Southland, according to his suit.
Wallace says he declined the visitation, but later that year agreed to Wells’ request that Crumpet spend time with her for two months while he would be traveling. The parties agreed the dog could stay with Wells until February 2014, then be returned to Wallace in Toronto, but that never happened, according to his lawsuit.
Wallace’s suit also alleges theft, but that allegation was not challenged in the defense motion.
The judge said Wallace’s fraud allegation was clearly laid out in the complaint.
“Here, the allegations of the complaint establish that Wells intended to defraud Wallace when she convinced Wallace to allow Crumpet to visit her in Los Angeles, but failed to disclose that she would not be returning Crumpet,” the judge wrote.
Beaudet also said Wallace’s allegation of intentional infliction of emotional distress was demonstrated by Wells’ knowledge that Wallace “cared for Crumpet and that Wallace would suffer harm if Crumpet was taken from him.”
Wells countersued in July 2015, alleging assault, battery, domestic violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and stalking. According to the countersuit, Wallace and another man grabbed Crumpet from Wells’ grasp in May 2015 in Sherman Oaks. She alleges that Wallace twisted her arms and wrists and banged her body against a wall, leaving her with bruises and scratches, and also shouted profanities at her before he and the other man left with the dog.
Less than two weeks later, Wells obtained a stay-away order against Wallace, who was ordered to return the dog to her, according to her suit. The dog has remained with her ever since.
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