You Be The Judge: Harris v. McGraw

Welcome to another edition of “You Be The Judge,” where we present a real-life case for you to weigh in on. In today’s case, we dive into the legal battle between Janet Harris and Phil McGraw, better known as Dr. Phil, and his wife, Robin. Read into the case files and decide!

The Incident:

The incident at the heart of this case occurred in 2009 when Janet Harris, a friend and frequent guest on Dr. Phil’s talk show, visited the McGraws’ home. Unfortunately, during her visit, Harris was bitten by the McGraws’ pet dog, Maggie.

In an effort to address the situation, the McGraws provided Harris with their homeowner’s insurance information. Allegedly, Harris never filed an insurance claim. However, they did take further action by paying for a Hawaiian vacation for Harris. It seemed like an attempt to make amends for the unfortunate incident.

However, a few months later, Harris faced severe complications from the dog bite injury. The infection led to a loss of hearing and hand tremors, which ultimately forced her out of work. In 2011, Harris decided to take legal action, filing a $7 million personal injury lawsuit against the McGraws.

The Case:

Harris claimed that the McGraws were negligent in allowing the incident to occur, and she alleged that they had attempted to silence her by offering a vacation as a bribe. The case took an interesting turn when it was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in Harris’ favor.

You Be The Judge:

Now, it’s time for you to put yourself in the judge’s seat. Consider the facts presented and the arguments made by both parties. Was the settlement justified? Should the McGraws be held liable for Harris’ damages? Does the offer of a vacation constitute an attempt to silence Harris?

In personal injury cases like this, there are often complex legal and ethical considerations. Factors such as negligence, liability, and the extent of damages all come into play. As you weigh the evidence, remember that your decision should be based on the information provided and your understanding of the law.

The Verdict:

While we don’t have all the details of the case, the settlement suggests that the parties found a resolution outside of court. However, the undisclosed settlement amount leaves room for speculation regarding the damages Harris suffered and the responsibility of the McGraws.


Ultimately, the case of Harris v. McGraw highlights the importance of proper care and responsibility when owning a pet. It also serves as a reminder that personal injury cases can be complex and require careful examination of the evidence to determine liability.

If you or a loved one have been injured and require legal assistance, remember that OnderLaw is here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and explore your options.