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Shumate v. Mouraux (2000)

Plaintiff's Attorney:   Michael Mortimer

Topic: Damages, Dog Boarding Facility

Case File #:   309844

Jurisdiction:   CA Superior Court of the State of California, City and County Of San Francisco

Name of the Document:   2000

Printible Version

In this California case, the plaintiff sought damages after her companion, a nine-year-old purebred cocker spaniel, suffered terminal injuries after staying at a “dog spa.”  The defendants marketed their pet boarding facility in the brochures given to plaintiff as one that would provide “personal care in a secure atmosphere.”  After plaintiff’s dog spent a visit at defendants’ facility, she noticed that Daisy was behaving abnormally, crouching low to the ground and apparently cowering.  Shortly thereafter, plaintiff then observed the dog whimpering in pain with bloody stools and a slow, lethargic demeanor.  Upon bringing the dog in for a veterinary examination, the veterinarian determined that the dog had suffered multiple broken ribs.  The dog later died and a necropsy revealed the dog had twelve broken ribs, a torn liver, and brain swelling caused by severe trauma.  In a phone call to defendants, the defendants denied any wrongdoing saying that nothing could have happened to Daisy while at the Happy Pets Inn.

Plaintiff’s causes of action focused on negligence claims, arguing that Daisy’s injuries could not have occurred without negligence by someone and that she was in the exclusive control of defendants when they occurred.  (Plaintiff also raised a violation of business practices claim under California code.)  What is significant about this complaint is that it raises a modified res ipsa loquitur argument in a bailment action.  It also contends that an exculpatory waiver in such a business relationship was unlawful.      

Chronology of Documents:

First Amended Complaint for Breach of Contract and Negligence (05/02/2000) (pdf. file 216 KB)

Second Amended Complaint for Breach of Contract and Negligence (12/11/2000) (pdf. file 240 KB)



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