Full Case Name:  Susan Raymond v. Suzanne Lachmann

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Country of Origin:  United States Court Name:  Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York Primary Citation:  695 N.Y.S.2d 308 (N.Y. App. Div. 1999). Date of Decision:  Thursday, August 19, 1999 Jurisdiction Level:  New York Alternate Citation:  264 A.D.2d 340; 1999 N.Y. Slip Op. 07127 Judges:  JJ. P.J. WALLACH and ANDRIAS ELLERIN TOM Attorneys:  Paul V. Gilberto, for Susan Raymond. Jeffrey D. Delott, for Suzanne Lachmann.

Trial court allowed visitation in property dispute over cat between roommates.  Later, that court determined it was not in the aged cat's best interests to be shuffled back and forth so revoked its decision, awarding it to the non-possessory roommate in a straight property analysis.  The appellate court determined that it would be best for the cat to remain with the possessory party because of his age and the amount of time he had already been living there.



*340 Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Sheila Abdus-Salaam, J.), entered January 8, 1998, which, inter alia, granted plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment to the extent of declaring that plaintiff is entitled to ownership and possession of the subject cat, Lovey, nee Merlin, conditioned upon plaintiff's payment for all veterinary expenses incurred by the cat since May, 1995, and granted defendant's motion for, inter alia, the imposition of sanctions to the extent of directing plaintiff's counsel to reimburse defendant for all reasonable counsel fees incurred in making the motion, unanimously reversed, on the law, the facts and in the exercise *341 of discretion, without costs, plaintiff's cross-motion denied, judgment granted to defendant awarding her ownership and possession of Lovey, defendant's motion denied and the award of sanctions vacated. Defendant's appeal from the order, same court and Justice, entered September 25, 1998, unanimously dismissed, without costs.

Cognizant of the cherished status accorded to pets in our society, the strong **309 emotions engendered by disputes of this nature, and the limited ability of the courts to resolve them satisfactorily, on the record presented, we think it best for all concerned that, given his limited life expectancy, Lovey, who is now almost ten years old, remain where he has lived, prospered, loved and been loved for the past four years.

As to the imposition of sanctions for improper discovery practice, while we do not condone such conduct, we consider vacatur of such sanctions appropriate under the circumstances of this case.


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