Cattle: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
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. 

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Western Australia Inc v Hammarquist (2003) 138 A Crim R 329

The respondents were charged with nine counts of inflicting unnecessary suffering on an animal, a cow, and one count of of subjecting 50 cows to unnecessary suffering. The trial judge found the respondents wrongly charged and dismissed the charges without the prosecution clearly articulating its case. The trial judge was incorrect to dismiss the charges for want of particulars. The trial magistrate was also incorrect to dismiss the tenth charge for duplicity. In some circumstances it is possible to include multiple offences in the same charge where the matters of complaint are substantially the same.

Safford Animal Hospital v. Blain 580 P.2d 757 (Ariz.App.,1978)

Appellant animal hospital sought review of the judgment entered against it for the injuries suffered by an individual after a cow escaped from the hospital and struck the man who owned the house to which the cow had run as the man tried to help the veterinarian secure the animal.  The court held that appellant's liability is predicated upon its position as an owner or occupier of land whose duty with regard to the keeping of domestic animals is circumscribed under a bailment theory. Further the court held that the evidence supported the trial court's finding that appellant negligent under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. 

Schwerdt v. Myers 683 P.2d 547 (1984)

This appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court related to the mental state requirement in determining an animal owner's liability for escape of cattle.  The Oregon Supreme Court, on review, held that simple rather than criminal negligence was the correct level of culpability for determining an animal owner's liability, and damages are available under a statute making an animal owner liable if an animal is permitted to escape onto another's property.

Shively v. Dye Creek Cattle Co. 35 Cal.Rptr.2d 238 (Cal.App.3.Dist.)

This California case concerned a personal injury action arising from a collision between the plaintiff's car and defendant's black Angus bull, which was lying on the highway at night. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment. In reversing this decision, the Court of Appeal held that the open range law does not itself define the duty owners of cattle owe nor does it exempt them from the duty of ordinary care.

Smithfield Foods, Inc. v. Miller 241 F.Supp.2d 978 (S.D.Iowa,2003)

The Court struck down an Iowa law that banned certain producers from owning or controlling livestock in Iowa based on the Dormant Commerce Clause.

Snyder v. Bio-Lab, Inc. 405 N.Y.S.2d 596 (N.Y.Sup.,1978)

Plaintiffs sought damages after having to slaughter dairy cows that were injured by defendant’s defective machine. The Court held that plaintiffs could recover 1) the fair market value less salvage value of the cows, 2) the loss of profit during the period after the incident when cows of comparable quality became available on the market, and 3) the calculable loss in milk production caused by the incident's negative impact on the milk production level of the remaining cows.

Spencer Creek Pollution Control Ass'n v. Organic Fertilizer Co. 505 P.2d 919 (1973)

This is a nuisance case involving the operation of a cattle feed lot.  Plaintiff sued to enjoin feed lot operators from interfering with use and enjoyment of plaintiffs' property asked for damages. The circuit court rendered judgment and defendant appealed. The Supreme Court held that decree limiting defendants to having no more than 600 head of cattle on its feed lot at one time was reasonable.

Sprague v. Magruder Farms, Inc. 594 P.2d 1324 (1979)

This is an appeal from a circuit court decision where the appellant claimed error for failure to grant a nonsuit and directed verdict in a case involving livestock running at large.  Plaintiff brought suit under a state statute which provides that an livestock owner shall not permit an animal to run at large or go on the land of another.  The Court of Appeals held that the defendant permitted its cattle to run at large, the plaintiff's oat fields were the lands of another according to the statute, and that the plaintiff's loss was satisfactorily established.

Stanko v. Maher 419 F.3d 1107 (10th Cir. 2005) A livestock owner and drover sued the Wyoming state brand inspector, alleging that inspector violated his state and federal constitutional rights in making warrantless seizure of five head of livestock, and that inspector abused his office in violation of state constitution. Plaintiff Rudy Stanko, proceeding pro se, appealed from the district court's order granting summary judgment to defendant Jim Maher.  The appellate court affirmed the entry of summary judgment in favor of Mr. Maher, holding that the warrantless search of cattle did not violate Fourth Amendment and the inspector did not violate the Fourth Amendment by making warrantless seizure of cattle as estrays.  Further, the procedure provided under Wyoming brand inspection statutes prior to seizure of cattle deemed to be estrays satisfied due process requirements.
State v. Allison State v. Allison, 90 N.C. 733 (1884).

The defendant was indicted at spring term, 1883, for a violation of the act of assembly in reference to cruelty to animals. The indictment is substantially as follows: The jurors, &c., present that the defendant, with force and arms, &c., "did unlawfully and wilfully overdrive, torture, torment, cruelly beat and needlessly mutilate a certain cow, the property of, &c., by beating said cow and twisting off her tail," contrary, &c. The jury found the defendant guilty, and on his motion the judgment was arrested and the state appealed.  The Supreme Court reversed the lower court's descision to arrest the judgment.

State v. Beekman State v. Beckman, 27 N.J.L. 124 (1858)

The defendant was convicted, in the Somerset Oyer and Terminer, of malicious mischief. The indictment charges that the defendant unlawfully, willfully, and maliciously did wound one cow, of the value of $ 50, of the goods and chattels of J. C. T.  The defendant appealed the conviction contending that the act charged in the indictment didn't constitute an indictable offence in this state.  The Court held that the facts charged in this indictment constitute no indictable offence, and the Court of Over and Terminer should be advised accordingly.

State v. Hatlewick 2005 WL 1634309 (N.D., 2005)

A man was charged with failing to maintain a proper fence to contain his cattle.  Despite the man's efforts to fix the fence when notified his cattle had gone through it, the trial court found the man guilty on three counts of willfully permitting livestock to run at large.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's conviction.

State v. Morison 365 P.2d 266 (Colo.1961)

Cattle owners sued the state and its agricultural commission for negligently performing the duty to use proper steps to prevent the spread of a contagious disease after they bought dairy cows at a sale that subsequently infected their herd. The owners were forced to sell their herd of dairy cows. The Supreme Court held that the owners could recover the difference between fair market value of their herd before and after it contracted the disease, loss of profits due to diminished milk production from cows before sale, value of silage or feed that had been contaminated, and reasonable costs of disinfecting the farm, but not for loss of profits for the dairy operation after they sold the cows, or loss of progeny.

State v. Pierce State v. Pierce, 7 Ala. 728 (1845)

The Defendant was charge with cruelty to animals for the killing of a certain spotted bull, belonging some person to the jurors unknow.  The lower court found the Defendant guilty.  The Defendant then appealed to the Supreme Court seeking review of whether the defense of provocation could be used.  The Court determined the answer to be yes. Thus the Court reversed and remanded the case.

Stauber v. Shalala 895 F.Supp. 1178 (W.D.Wis.,1995)

Court found that milk consumers failed to prove that milk gained from rBST-treated cows contains higher levels of antibiotics, tastes different, or differs in any noticeable way from "ordinary" milk. That consumers might demand mandatory labeling was not enough to require labeling; rather, the FDA was required to ensure that products are not misbranded and consumer demand could not require the FDA to forgo this duty.

Supreme Beef Processors, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 275 F.3d 432 (C.A.5 (Tex.),2001)

The Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision that the Federal Meat Inspection Act focuses on the processes used by a manufacturer and not the product itself, and that the presence of Salmonella bacteria in the meat does not necessarily make a product "adulterated" because the act of the cooking meat normally destroys the bacteria.

Supreme Beef Processors, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 113 F.Supp.2d 1048 (N.D.Tex.,2000)

North Federal District Court of Texas ruled that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) only empowered the Food Safety and Inspection Services to prevent the United States Department of Agriculture from allowing companies to sell adulterated meat to the public. To find meat adulterated under FMIA requires that the processor's plants conditions are insanitary, thus the FSIS should focus on the manufacturing process and not the final product to determine that a plant is insanitary.

Sutton v. Sutton 243 S.E.2d 310 (Ga.App. 1978) Plaintiff brought an action in tort against his father for injuries incurred in attempting to help his father and younger brother recapture an escaped bull. The defendant appeals from judgment for the plaintiff.
Taft v. Taft 433 S.E.2d 667 (Ga.App.,1993)
In this Georgia case, an adult son, who was business invitee, brought an action against his father to recover for injuries sustained when he was attacked by his father's bull while attempting to corral it for market. The lower court entered judgment for son, and father then appealed. The Court of Appeals, held that it for the jury to determine questions as to proximate cause, viciousness of bull, assumption of risk, superior or equal knowledge, contributory negligence, and negligence of the plaintiff. The failure of the trial court to charge adequately on proximate cause required a reversal, notwithstanding appellant's lack of a timely and proper request for a specific proximate cause charge. Judgment reversed.
Texas Beef Group v. Winfrey 201 F.3d 680 (C.A.5 (Tex.),2000)
Cattle ranchers in Texas sued the  The Oprah Winfrey Show and one of its guests for knowingly and falsely depicting American beef as unsafe in the wake of the British panic over “Mad Cow Disease.” The matter was removed from state court to federal court. The federal district court granted summary judgment as a matter of law on all claims presented except the business disparagement cause of action, which was eventually rejected by a jury. The court alternately held that no knowingly false statements were made by the appellees. This court affirmed on this latter ground only, finding that the guest's statement and the producers' editing of the show did not violate the Texas False Disparagement of Perishable Food Products Act. 
Thacker ex rel. Thacker v. Kroger Co. 155 Fed.Appx. 946 (C.A.8 (Mo.),2005)

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed district court decision that Thacker family failed to link an injury to ground beef on which the USDA requested a recall.

Thomas v. Stenberg 142 Cal.Rptr.3d 24 (Cal.App. 1 Dist.)

While driving his motorcycle down a private road that had easement access, the plaintiff was injured by a charging cow. Arguing the defendant had a duty to warn of the presence of an unconfined and inherently dangerous animal, the plaintiff brought a negligence and a premise liability suit against the defendant. Upon appeal, the court held that the plaintiff had failed to prove that the defendant was negligent and that the defendant was strictly liable for the cow's actions; the court, therefore, ruled in favor of the defendant.

Ventana Wilderness Alliance v. Bradford 2007 WL 1848042 (N.D.Cal.,2007)

Court upheld United States Forest Service's decision to allow cattle grazing on land designated as "wilderness" because grazing had been established on the land and because the federal agency had taken the necessary "hard look" at the environmental consequences caused by grazing.

Watzig v. Tobin 623 P.2d 1121 (1981)

This is an appeal of a district court decision on property damages from plaintiff's car hitting defendant's cow.  On appeal, the Court determined that the animal owners did not violate a closed range statute merely because their cow was on a public highway, that the presence of an animal on a public highway does not establish that the animal owners were negligent, and that the driver of an automobile has a duty to maintain a reasonable outlook for animals on public highways.

Western Watersheds Project v. Dyer 2009 WL 484438 (D.Idaho)

The plaintiff, Western Watersheds Project (WWP), is an environmental group that brought this lawsuit to ban livestock grazing in certain areas of the Jarbidge Field Office (1.4 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho and northern Nevada). WWP alleges that continued grazing destroys what little habitat remains for imperiled species like the sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, and slickspot peppergrass (deemed “sensitive species” by the BLM).  After ten days of evidentiary hearings, the court found that three sensitive species in the JFO are in serious decline and that livestock grazing is an important factor in that decline. However, the court found that a ban on grazing was not required by law at this point since the Court was "confident" in the BLM's ability to modify the 2009 season in accordance with the Court's interpretation of the existing RMP.

Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink 632 F.3d 472 (9th Cir., 2011)

Plaintiff environmental advocacy organization sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for revisions to nationwide grazing regulations for federal lands. Plaintiff argued that the 2006 Regulations violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The Court of Appeals found for the plaintiff, holding that BLM violated NEPA by failing to take a “hard look” at the environmental consequences of the proposed regulatory changes. BLM also violated the ESA by failing to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) before approving the revisions. The FLPMA claim was remanded.

Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink 620 F.3d 1187 (C.A.9 (Idaho). 2010)

Plaintiff environmental advocacy organization sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for revisions to nationwide grazing regulations for federal lands, arguing that the revisions violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The Court of Appeals held that BLM violated NEPA by failing to take a “hard look” at the environmental consequences of the proposed changes, and violated the ESA by failing to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) before approving the revisions. Opinion Amended and Superseded on Denial of Rehearing en banc by: Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink, 632 F.3d 472 (9th Cir., 2010).

Westfall v. State 10 S.W.3d 85 (Tex. App. 1999)

Defendant convicted of cruelty for intentionally or knowingly torturing his cattle by failing to provide necessary food or care, causing them to die. Defendant lacked standing to challenge warrantless search of property because he had no expectation of privacy under open fields doctrine.

Wrinkle v. Norman 242 P.3d 1216 (Kan. App., 2010)

Wrinkle filed a negligence action against his neighbors (the Normans) after he sustained injuries on thier property. The injuries stemmed from an incident where Wrinkle was trying to herd cattle he thought belonged to the Normans back into a pen on the Normans' property. The lower court granted the Normans' motion for summary judgment. On appeal, this court found that the question comes down to Wrinkle's status (invitee, licensee, or trespasser) to determine the duty owed by the Normans. This Court found that the district court properly determined that Wrinkle was a trespasser. Finally, the court addressed the K.S.A. 47-123 claim as to whether the Normans are liable for their cattle running at large. The court found that Wrinkle could not meet the burden under the statute.