Cattle: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Allendorf v. Redfearn 2011 IL App (2d) 110130 (2011)

After a farm employee was injured in an all terrain vehicle (ATV) while trying to round up a bull, he sued the farm owners under the Domestic Animals Running at Large Act. The Appellate Court held that the employee could not recover under the Act, which protects members of the general public who cannot be expected to appreciate the risk posed by an animal. Because the employee was not an innocent bystander but rather was attempting to exercise control over the bull at the time he was injured, he fell within the Act's definition of an “owner” of the bull.

Animal Legal Defense Fund Boston, Inc. v. Provimi Veal Corp. 626 F.Supp. 278 (D.Mass.,1986)

District Court found that federal law preempts Massachusetts's consumer protection statute that requires retailers to inform consumers of relevant information, the disclosure of which may have influenced the buyer or prospective buyer not to enter into the transaction. The District Court also held that the Animal Legal Defense Fund could not enforce a cruelty to animals claim because it involves criminal statutes that only public prosecutors and legislatively-sanctioned groups may enforce.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Mendes 72 Cal.Rptr.3d 553 (Cal.App. 5 Dist., 2008)

Appellants ALDF asserted causes of action for violation of Penal Code section 597t for confining calves without an “adequate exercise area,” and for commission of unfair business practices under Business and Professions Code section 17200 et seq. In affirming the lower court's decision to dismiss the action, this court held that there is no private cause of action pursuant to Penal Code section 597t under the present circumstances, and none of the appellants have shown an ability to allege any facts of economic injury.

Austin v. Bundrick 935 So.2d 836 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2006)

This Louisiana case involves a suit against the owner of a cow (Bundrick) that wandered into the road where it was struck by plaintiff Austin's vehicle.  Bundrick and his insurer, Colony Insurance Company, appealed the partial summary judgment finding Bundrick liable for the damages resulting from the accident. In reversing the lower court's order for partial summary judgment and remanding for a trial on the merits, the court noted that it is well settled that when an auto strikes a cow on one of the enumerated "stock law" highways, the burden of proof rests upon the owner of the animal to exculpate himself from even the slightest degree of negligence.

Bard v. Jahnke 791 N.Y.S.2d 694 (N.Y. 2005)

A subcontractor was injured at a dairy farm he was working at when he was pinned up against a stall by a bull .  The subcontractor brought claims against the dairy farm and carpenter for negligence and strict liability.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Boulahanis v. Prevo's Family Market, Inc. 230 Mich.App. 131 (1998) Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed that the Federal Meat Inspection Act prevents states from adding or modifying federal requirements on meat producers. Claims that purchased meat products are adulterated must be based on federal standards, not Michigan standards. The United States Department of Agriculture elected not to address E. coli contamination, thus Michigan may not impose liability on manufacturers for not addressing possible E. coli contamination.
Brayshaw v Liosatos [2001] ACTSC 2

The appellant had informations laid against him alleging that he, as a person in charge of animals, neglected cattle 'without reasonable excuse' by failing to provide them with food. The appellant had been informed by a veterinarian that his treatment of the cattle was potentially a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1992 (ACT) and that they were in poor condition. The evidence admitted did not rule out the possibility that the appellant's feeding of the cattle accorded with 'maintenance rations' and the convictions were overturned.

Brockett v. Abbe 206 A.2d 447 (Conn.Cir.A.D. 1964)

Defendant-farmer filed a counterclaim for damages for the erroneous determination by the veterinarian that certain cow was not pregnant (plaintiff veterinarian used a "punch test" - where a fist is struck against the abdomen of a cow to determine pregnancy rather than the industry-standard rectal examination). As a result, defendant-farmer sold the cow for $170 versus the $550 he could have received for a pregnant cow.  The Court found that it was erroneous for the circuit court to apply the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, as diagnoses and scientific treatment are improper subjects for the doctrine. The mere proof that the diagnosis later on turned out to be erroneous is insufficient to support a judgment, the court stated.

Brookover v. Roberts Enterprises, Inc. 156 P.3d 1157 (Ariz.App. Div. 1,2007)

Plaintiffs-appellants Brookovers appeal the trial court's decision granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee Roberts Enterprises, Inc.. The Brookovers claimed that Roberts was negligent in allowing its cow to enter the highway where it collided with the Brookovers' automobile. They contend that they presented evidence that defendants were aware of the risk of significant numbers of collisions between cattle and automobiles when cows were allowed to graze in the vicinity of a paved highway. Here, however, the court stated that the record indicates that the accident involving the Brookovers was the first reported cattle-automobile accident to occur on the Salome Highway through the Clem Allotment since Roberts began to lease the premises. Further, the court affirmed the trial court's ruling on the inapplicability of res ipsa loquitur based on the Brookovers' inability to establish that the accident is of a type that would not have occurred in the absence of negligence.

Browning v. State 2007 WL 1805918 (Ind.App.)

The Brownings were each charged with 32 counts of animal cruelty and convicted of five counts for their failure to provide adequate nutrition and veterinary care to their horses and cattle.  As a result, Cass County seized and boarded several of their animals at a significant cost to the county.  Although only five of those horses and cattle were ultimately deemed to be the subject of the defendants' cruelty, the appellate court affirmed the order requiring the Brownings to reimburse the county for boarding and caring for the horses and cattle during the proceedings totaling approximately $14,000 in fines and costs.

Californians for Humane Farms v. Schafer Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4449583 (N.D.Cal.) (Not Reported in F.Supp.2d)

Plaintiff, a nonprofit ballot committee established to sponsor Proposal 2, a State ballot initiative that would result in prohibiting the tethering and confinement of egg laying hens and other farm animals, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, alleging a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, after Defendant approved a decision by the American Egg Board (the “Egg Board”) to set aside $3 million for a consumer education campaign to educate consumers about current production practices.   The United States District Court, N.D. California granted Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, finding that Plaintiff was likely to succeed on the merits, direct harm to Plaintiff was likely to occur if the injunction was not granted, and that the public interest would be served by granting the preliminary injunction.

Campbell v. Supervalu 2007 WL 891682 (N.D.Ind.) North District Court of Indiana dismissed a claim that Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) preempted the plaintiff's state law claims. While a past court decision held that FMIA preempted state attempts to regulate meat inspection, this case was distinguishable because the suit focused on an alleged act of negligence that fell outside inspection of meat and because the state is not placing additional or different requirements then those set by FMIA.
Carver v. Ford 591 P.2d 305 (Okla. 1979)

The owners rented a stall from the tort victim for their heifer. The heifer escaped into the yard and crashed into a gate whereupon the gate then hit the tort victim in the mouth and broke several teeth.  The Supreme Court of Oklahoma held that the heifer was not running at large, that the heifer escaped from its stall through no fault of the owners, that strict liability for trespass under Okla. Stat. tit. 4. sec. 98 (1965) was not applicable, and that any liability of the owners was required to be predicated upon negligence.

Citizens for Balanced Use v. Maurier 303 P.3d 794 (Mont. 2013)

Upon the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks’s decision to relocate a brucellosis-free herd of bison out of Yellowstone National Park and into tribal lands, plaintiffs sought an injunction to halt this movement until the department complied with MCA § 87-1-216.  The District Court granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction.  Upon appeal by defendants and defendant intervenors, however, the Supreme Court of Montana held that MCA § 87-1-216 did not apply and that the District Court relied on erroneous grounds for issuing a preliminary injunction under MCA § 27-19-201(2). The case was therefore reversed, the preliminary injunction vacated and the case was remanded back to the District Court.

Creekstone Farms Premium Beef v. United States Department of Agriculture 517 F.Supp.2d 8 (D.D.C.,2007) Creekstone Farms Premium Beef (Creekstone) sought to independently test their slaughtered cows so they could more safely provide meat to consumers. Creekstone requested testing kits from the USDA, the same kits that USDA inspectors use to test for BSE. The district court ruled that Creekstone could perform the tests.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, L.L.C. v. Department of Agriculture 539 F.3d 492 (D.C.Cir., 2008) Plaintiff, a supplier of beef products, brought an action against Defendant, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), after the USDA denied Plaintiff’s request to purchase Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) testing kits.   The United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit found that the USDA has authority under the Virus Serum Toxin Act (VSTA) to regulate the use of biological products, the USDA’s interpretation of VSTA allowing the USDA to deny an import permit based on the product’s intended use was not inconsistent with the regulation and was therefore entitled to deference by the Court, the USDA’s interpretation of the word “treatment” as including diagnostic activities was entitled to deference, and that   BSE testing is a diagnostic activity for purposes of VSTA.
Dufer v. Cully 3 Or. 377 (1871)

This case involved a plaintiff who sued for damages when a bull strayed into, or broke into the plaintiff's enclosures, and the plaintiff, with two other men, went to drive the bull away.  The court held that the owner of a domestic animal is not generally liable for injuries resulting from the vicious disposition of the animal, unless he is chargeable with notice.

Farnham v. Meder 45 A.D.3d 1315 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept., 2007)

In this New York case, the plaintiff commenced this negligence action seeking damages for injuries sustained when defendants' bull knocked him to the ground while plaintiff was chasing the bull from his own property. Defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that plaintiff's activities in chasing the bull constituted primary assumption of the risk. This court concluded that Supreme Court properly denied defendants' motion. The record established that plaintiff was fully familiar with defendants' bull and had in fact chased the bull from plaintiffs' property on prior occasions. At no time had the bull ever acted aggressively toward plaintiff, and thus plaintiff had no reason to assume that the bull would do so on this particular occasion.

Faulkner v. Watt 661 F.2d 809 (9th Cir. 1981)

Reaffirms that purpose of the Taylor Grazing Act (TGA) is to stabilize the livestock industry and protect the rights of sheep and cattle growers from interference and that the Secretary of the Interior may reasonably classify lands under the TGA as suitable for agriculture.

Forest Guardians v. Veneman 392 F.Supp.2d 1082 (D.Ariz.,2005)

District Court held that United States Forest Service could issue permits that allow cattle on lands near waterways where spikedace and loach minnows live, both species are listed as "threatened" species, even though this grazing could delay their recovery.

Galloway v. Kuhl 806 N.E.2d 251 (Ill. 2004)

Motorist injured when cattle strayed onto highway in violation of state law.  The lower court allowed the defendant's to assert the affirmative defense of comparative negligence, reducing Motorists damages, but the jury still found in favor of the Motorist.  Both sides appealed, and the Court held that (a) comparative negligence affirmative defense was valid; and (b) jury's damage configuration was legally inconsistent.

Greives v. Greenwood 550 N.E.2d 334 (Ind.App. 4 Dist.,1990)

Cattle breeders sued veterinarian who negligently vaccinated two cows leading to slaughter of one and quarantine of the herd was quarantined. The Court of Appeals held that breeders: (1) could not recover lost profits from unborn and future unborn calves; (2) could not recover damages for injury to business reputation; (3) could not recover for default in payment of financial obligations or collection procedures brought against them; (4) were properly allowed to present evidence as to the loss of net profits as result of cancellation of spring production sale and subsequent delay in selling animals; and (5) interest expense was not a variable cost for purposes of action.

Hairston v. Burger King Corp. 764 So.2d 176 (La.App. 2 Cir.,2000)

Louisiana appeals court affirmed trial court's finding that plaintiff failed to adequately link her stomach ailment with a burger purchased from Burger King and thus could not sustain an action that sought recovery of alleged damages suffering due to food poisoning.

Harvey v. Southern Pac. Co. 80 P. 1061 (1905)

This is a case involving a train hitting a cow.  This case involves a judgment for defendant based upon plaintiff's common-law negligence complaint in that defendant ran its train upon and killed the plaintiff's cow.  The appellate court upheld defendant's motion for a directed verdict where plaintiff alleged negligence on the part of defendant for failing to fence in its track.

Hastings v. Sauve 94 A.D.3d 1171 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2012) Plaintiff motorist was injured after hitting a cow that had wandered onto the highway, and sued owner for negligently failing to confine cow. The Supreme Court held that injury claims could only proceed under strict liability theory based on owner's knowledge of animal's vicious propensities. There was no evidence that cow had a vicious propensity, or that owner knew of propensity, thus, owner was not liable. This order was Reversed by Hastings v. Sauve , 2013 WL 1829834 (N.Y., 2013).
Hastings v. Sauve 989 N.E.2d 940 (N.Y., 2013)

After plaintiff motorist was injured after hitting a cow that had wandered onto the highway, she sued farm owner, operator of cattle-shipping business, and operator's assistant, alleging that defendants were negligent in not properly confining cow to its pasture. There was no evidence that cow had a vicious or abnormal propensity, or that cow's owner knew of propensity, as required to support a strict liability claim. However, on appeal to the Court of Appeals, the court held that a landowner or the owner of an animal may be liable under ordinary tort-law principles when a farm animal is negligently allowed to stray from the property on which the animal is kept.

Honeycutt v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. 890 So.2d 756 (2nd Cir. 2004)

A driver hit a cow standing in the road and the driver brought suit against the cow's owner and the owner's insurance agency.  The trial court held in favor of the driver and the Court of Appeals affirmed based upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor.

Humane Soc. of Rochester and Monroe County for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. v. Lyng 633 F.Supp. 480 (W.D.N.Y.,1986)

Court decided that the type of branding mandated by Secretary of Agriculture constitutes cruelty to animals because other less painful and equally effective alternatives exist and therefore freed dairy farmers to use other branding methods like freeze branding.

Idaho Dairymen's Ass'n, Inc. v. Gooding County 227 P.3d 907 (Idaho 2010)

After Gooding County adopted an ordinance regulating confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), cattle ranching and dairy associations brought suit challenging the constitutionality and validity of provisions within the ordinance and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.  The district court entered summary judgment in favor of the county, and the associations appealed.  The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court's findings. 

Kindel v. Tennis 949 N.E.2d 1119 (Ill.App. 5 Dist., 2011)

Plaintiff was an employee of a dairy farm owned by defendants. In 2007, he was injured by a bull owned and controlled by defendants while working on the defendants' farm . The Appellate Court disagreed with the lower court, finding that the employee's allegations were sufficient to support a claim against the farm owners under the Animal Control Act. The court found it was a question of fact whether it was plaintiff's job to care for the bull, and whether that animal was in the care and/or custody of plaintiff at the time of the injury.

King v. Karpe 338 P.2d 979 (Ca.,1959)

Plaintiff sued for damages after a cow was sent to slaughter after a veterinarian had determined that she was incapable of breeding. The court recognized “peculiar value” of the cow where there was evidence that she was slaughtered before she had completed a course of treatment meant to restore her to brood status, that she could have produced for another five or six years, that the three bull calves she had produced were outstanding, that defendant took a half interest in them as the breeding fee and exhibited them at shows, that the cow's blood line produced calves particularly valuable for inbreeding, that plaintiff needed this type of stock to build up her herd, and that defendant had knowledge of these facts. The value of the bull to which the cow had been bred was also material to the cow’s actual value.

Kintner v. Claverack Rural Elec. Co-op., Inc. 478 A.2d 858 (Pa.1983)

A dairy farmer sued electric utility for trespass and damages after 14 cows were electrocuted by downed power lines. The Superior Court held that the dairy farmer was not entitled to loss-of-use damages because he chose to replace the electrocuted cows by raising others from his herd rather than by immediately buying mature milk-producing cows.

Larry BARD et al., Appellants, v. Reinhardt JAHNKE, Individually And Doing Business as Hemlock Valley Farms, Respondent, et al., Defendant. 848 N.E.2d 463 (N.Y., 2006)

The accident underlying this litigation occurred on a dairy farm owned and operated by defendant. Plaintiff Larry Bard, a self-employed carpenter, arrived at the farm to meet defendant John Timer, another self-employed carpenter to repair of the dairy barn. While working, Bard was seriously injured by a bull. Bard, with his wife suing derivatively, commenced an action against both Jahnke and Timer to recover damages for his personal injuries, alleging causes of action sounding in strict liability and negligence. In affirming the Appellate Division's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, this court found that Jahnke was not liable for Bard's injuries unless he knew or should have known of the bull's vicious or violent propensities. The Court noted that the record contained no such evidence.

Mack v. State of Texas (unpublished) 2003 WL 23015101 (Not Reported in S.W.3d)

The Texas Appeals Court affirmed the trial court's decision that failure to adequately provide for cattle such that they suffered from malnourishment constituted animal cruelty offense under Texas law. The court found that the evidence was legally sufficient to establish that malnourished cow was one of the many domesticated living creatures on defendant's ranch, and was therefore an “animal” under the state law.

McPherson v. Schlemmer 749 P.2d 51 (Mont. 1988)

In McPherson v. Schlemer , plaintiff’s cows were killed by defendant when they wandered onto the highway. The court determined that damages were calculated at the present and future profits for fair market value.

Missouri Farmers Ass'n v. Kempker 726 S.W.2d 723 (Mo.,1987)

Missouri Farmers Association sued a dairy farmer on account and notes. The farmer counterclaimed, alleging that Association had supplied defective feed. The Supreme Court held that farmer's recovery for diminution in cows' value did not preclude recovery for loss of milk and calf production. However, the  farmer failed to sufficiently link the feed to his damages, so his evidence of lost profits was speculative, which prevented recovery.

Molenaar v. United Cattle Co. 553 N.W.2d 424 (Minn.App., 1996)

Plaintiff livestock owner sued defendant livestock owner for conversion after defendant knowingly took both its heifers and plaintiff's heifers from a livestock holding facility that defendant was suing for breach of contract. The District Court entered judgment after a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff but granted judgment notwithstanding verdict (JNOV) to defendant on punitive damages. The Court of Appeals held that punitive damages could be awarded even though defendant did not suffer personal injury and the evidence was sufficient to find defendant liable for conversion.  This case established that a litigant may recover punitive damages for conversion of property if the conversion is in deliberate disregard of the rights or safety of others.

Molinari v. Tuskegee University 339 F. Supp. 2d. 1293 (N.D. Ala. 2004)

A veterinary student was kicked by a cow while trying to perform a medical procedure.  The student brought a personal injury lawsuit against the professor and university for negligently allowing the university-owned cow to kick her and not providing timely medical treatment.  Defendants' motion for summary judgment was granted in part and denied in part.

Moreland v. Adams 152 P.3d 558 (Idaho, 2007)

A motorcyclist died when he ran into a calf on the road. His family sued for wrongful death. The court held that the owner of the calf was not liable because of open range immunity.

National Meat Ass'n v. Brown 599 F.3d 1093 (C.A.9 (Cal.), 2010)

This is an interlocutory appeal brought by the State of California and defendant-intervenors The Humane Society, et al., from a preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of California Penal Code § 599f, which bans the slaughter and inhumane handling of nonambulatory animals, against federally regulated swine slaughterhouses. The district court granted the preliminary injunction. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) did not expressly preempt California statute banning slaughter of nonambulatory animals. On the humane handling requirement of section 599f, the court did find that Section 599f(e) prohibits dragging of unconscious downer animals which the federal law does not. However, NMA failed to show a likelihood of irreparable injury or that the balance of the equities and the public interest tip in its favor for this provision. This court found that the lower court abused its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction, and the injunction was vacated. This case was later vacated by: National Meat Ass'n v. Harris , 680 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir., 2012).

Nebraska Beef, Ltd. v. United States Department of Agriculture 398 F.3d 1080 (8th Cir. 2005)

Eight Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to allow Nebraska Beef to pursue a Bivens remedy --remedy allows a party to recover damages when federal officials violate a person's constitutional rights when Congress has not provided an adequate remedy-- after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allegedly breached a mutual consent decision agreed upon after the USDA issued Noncompliance Records for perceived regulatory violations.

Oestrike v. Neifert 255 N.W. 226 (Mich. 1934)

In this case, defendant Neifert rented land to graze cattle.  Plaintiff owned billboards in the pasture that were often painted with lead-based paint.  Defendant's cattle ate the lead-contaminated paint left in the pails and the ground and subsequently died from poisoning.  The Court upheld the award of damages to defendant-Neifert on a negligence theory because plaintiffs should have reasonably known that the cattle would ingest the paint left in the pails and on the field. 

Oregon Natural Desert Ass'n v. Kimbell Slip Copy, 2008 WL 4186913 (D.Or.)

After filing a complaint challenging certain decisions by the United States Forest Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service authorizing livestock grazing within a national forest, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction seeking an order prohibiting the authorization of livestock grazing on certain public lands until Plaintiffs’ claims could be heard on the merits.   The United States District Court, D. Oregon granted Plaintiffs’ motion, finding that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of at least one of its claims, and that Plaintiffs made a sufficient showing that irreparable harm would likely occur if the relief sought is not granted.  

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Kansas State Fair Board 891 F.Supp.2d 1212 (D.Kan. 2012)

Upon being informed by the Kansas State Fair Board (KSFB) that it must shield a video depicting graphic images of animals being slaughtered, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sought a preliminary injunction in order to show the video at the Kansas State Fair. PETA argued the shield was unconstitutional. The KSFB sought a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds of Eleventh Amendment Immunity, that PETA lacked Article Three Standing, and that the defendant was not a section 1983 person. Both motions were denied by the district court.

People v. Olary 160 N.W.2d 348 (Mich. 1968)

Defendant argued that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, he pointed out that there was no direct testimony with regard to the cause of the injuries to his cows.  The court disagreed and held that inattention to the condition of the animals was sufficient to constitute the offense of cruelty to animals. 

People v. Olary (On Appeal) 170 N.W.2d 842 (Mich. 1969)

Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, defendant argued that the Court of Appeals erroneously upheld the conviction because of his inattention to the condition of the cows and failure to provide medical treatment, when such action or failure to act was not punishable under the anti-cruelty statute.  The Supreme Court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction of cruelty to animals because as a farmer, defendant could have realized that his conduct was cruel. 

People v. Preston 300 N.W. 853 (Mich. 1941)

Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing three cows.  The issue considered on review was: "Are the circumstances and testimony here, aliunde the confession of the respondent, sufficient to create such a probability that the death of the cattle in question was intentionally caused by human intervention and to justify the admission in evidence of the alleged confession of the respondent?"  The court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction.

People v. Sanchez 114 Cal. Rptr. 2d 437 (Cal. App. 2001)

Defendant on appeal challenges six counts of animal cruelty. The court affirmed five counts which were based on a continuing course of conduct and reversed one count that was based upon evidence of two discrete criminal events.

Petersheim v. Corum 815 N.E.2d 1132 (Ohio, 2004)

Driver struck bull that had wandered onto a public highway and driver was killed.  Court of appeals ruled for wife in a wrongful death action against the bull's owner.  The owner had a duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent the bull's escape.

Ranchers Cattleman Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 415 F.3d 1078 (9th Cir. 2005)

The court was presented with the question of whether the district court erred in issuing a preliminary injunction prohibiting the implementation of a regulation of the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") permitting the resumption of the importation of Canadian cattle into the United States.  The court concluded that it did and therefore reversed the district court.