Alex Rodriguez, the baseball slugger who just confessed to taking banned substances, has at least one less legal headache. He's settled a five-year-old dispute with a carpet installer who claims A-Rod's dog bit him.

In October 2003, Rodriguez, then playing with the Texas Rangers, allegedly "invited" Marlon Portillo into his home to lay carpet. Portillo claimed Rodriguez's dog Gypsy bit him. (Gypsy, a black German Shepherd with some wolf blood, died of cancer in 2004; that same year, Rodriguez joined the New York Yankees in a trade.)

Portillo filed his suit October 2007, nearly four years later, right before the statute of limitations would have run out. As of last summer, the suit was heading for trial. But according to public record-sifting P.I. Joseph Culligan, Portillo's lawyer told another reporter yesterday afternoon that it had been settled and that nothing more could be said about it, but that Portillo was "happy" with the result — which suggests that the parties reached a settlement which included a confidentiality clause. Reached by phone Monday evening, Portillo declined to comment. His lawyer did not return a message left for him.

A confidentiality clause is a routine step in legal settlement with a celebrity, if just to prevent the size of the settlement from getting out. Except for this: In December 1998, Miami police cited Portillo for a prostitution misdemeanor. Charges were dropped, according to records obtained by Culligan, and posted on Florida law labels both paying for sex and offering sex for money as "prostitution," but Culligan says Portillo told him last summer that he was the one offering sex.

(Photo by Getty Images)