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Arizona Court of Appeals

Roman v. Carroll
Arizona
621 P.2d 307 (Ariz.App., 1980)

Case Details
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Summary:   The question on this appeal is whether a plaintiff can recover damages for emotional distress she suffered from watching defendants' St. Bernard dismember plaintiff's poodle while she was walking the dog near her home.  Relying on a case that allowed damages for emotional distress suffered from witnessing injury to a third person, plaintiff contended that her relationship with her poodle was a close one within the confines of that case.  However, the court summarily denied her claim, holding that a dog is personal property and damages are not recoverable for negligent infliction of emotional distress from witnessing injury to property.

Judge RICHMOND, Judge delivered the opinion of the court.


Opinion of the Court:

The question on this appeal is whether a plaintiff can recover damages for emotional distress she suffered from watching defendants' St. Bernard dismember plaintiff's poodle while she was walking the dog near her home. The poodle died two days later. In her action for damages, plaintiff/appellant alleges that she suffered severe emotional shock from witnessing the incident and that, at the time, she considered herself in danger of attack by the St. Bernard. She appeals from a summary judgment denying her damages for emotional distress. [FN1]

FN1. The parties stipulated to a judgment of $1,000 "for any and all damages claimed ... for veterinarian expenses, burial expenses, value of dog and punitive damages."

Appellant contends that she is entitled to a trial on the question of damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress because her relationship with her pet poodle was a close one within the meaning of Keck v. Jackson, 122 Ariz. 114, 593 P.2d 668 (1979). The supreme court in Keck held that under certain circumstances a person may recover damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress caused by witnessing injury to a third person. A dog, however, is personal property. A.R.S. s 1-215(25); State v. Hernandez, 121 Ariz. 544, 592 P.2d 378 (App.1979). Damages are not recoverable for negligent infliction of emotional distress from witnessing injury to property. See, e. g., State v. Baltimore Transit Co., 197 Md. 528, 80 A.2d 13, 28 A.L.R.2d 1062 (App.1951).

Affirmed.

HATHAWAY, C. J., and HOWARD, J., concur.

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