Pet Damages: Related Cases

Case namesort ascending Citation Summary
Rowbotham v. Maher 658 A.2d 912 (R.I. 1995)

The plaintiff argues that G.L. 1956 (1987 Reenactment) § 4-13-16 permits recovery for indirect injuries, specifically including emotional trauma resulting from the destruction of property, in this instance the destruction of plaintiff's dog by two other dogs.  The court disagrees, finding that under § 4-13-16, a person may recover damages in a civil action from a dog owner where the dog causes an injury to a person or to another domestic animal, and nothing in the statute permits recovery for emotional trauma.  With regard to the negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, the court notes that in this jurisdiction a third party may recover if, inter alia, the party is a close relative of the victim, which was not the case here. 

Rotunda v. Haynes 33 Misc.3d 68 (App. Term 2011) The plaintiff in this case filed suit against the defendant, a dog breeder, to recover medical fees after receiving a dog that had a “severe genetic heart defect.” The dog was purchased by a third party and given to plaintiff as a gift. The court in this case held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law or the Uniform Commercial Code. The court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law because the dog was not actually purchased by plaintiff. In addition, the plaintiff was not entitled to recover under the Uniform Commercial Code because plaintiff was unable to establish “privity with the defendant or personal injuries arising from the alleged defect,” which are required in order to recover damages. The judgment was affirmed.
Rosche v. Wayne Feed Div. Continental Grain Co. 447 N.W.2d 94 (1989)

Pig breeder sought damages from feed manufacturer after pigs got sick, died, or became sterile after eating feed. The Court of Appeals held that jury should have been instructed that basic measure of damages for dead and injured livestock was based on market value of affected animals and did not include separate award for unborn litters.  Failure to give proper instruction was prejudicial error that required a new trial on the issue of damages.

Roper v. Greenway 751 S.E.2d 351 (Ga.,2013)

The Georgia Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals in Greenway v. Northside Hosp., Inc ., 317 Ga.App. 371, 730 S.E.2d 742 (2012), to determine if the Court erred in finding that the deputy involved in that case was entitled to official immunity in connection with the euthanization of two dogs. The plaintiff-dog owner sued a hospital, animal control officers, and sheriffs after he was pressured to sign a release form to euthanize his dogs when he was admitted to the hospital. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's ruling of summary judgment for Roper, the hospital, and the animal shelter operator. Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that the doctrine of official immunity insulated Roper from liability from his decision to ask Greenway to sign the form, but not from the actual execution of that decision. In the instant action, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals' judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. The court noted that whether Roper's actions were malicious were beyond the scope of this writ of certiorari.
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Roos v. Loeser 183 P. 204 (Cal.App.1.Dist.,1919)

This is an action for damages alleged to have been sustained by plaintiff by reason of the killing of her dog, of the variety known as Pomeranian, by an Airedale belonging to the defendant. In 1919, a California court determined damages to be limited to the veterinary expenses connected with the injury to the animal. In the opinion, the court lovingly discusses the value of the animal. Notwithstanding these words of praise for the small animal, the court decided that the value was limited to the fair market value and related expenses.

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

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.

Richardson v. Fairbanks North Star Borough 705 P.2d 454 (Alaska, 1985)

This case concerns the proper measure of damages for the death of a pet dog caused by a municipality's negligence after the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter violated a Borough ordinance and mistakenly killed the Richardsons' pet dog, Wizzard.  The court indicated it is willing to recognize a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress for the intentional or reckless killing of a pet animal in an appropriate case.  However, the court held that in this case, the Richardsons made an offer of proof regarding their emotional distress and the evidence in the record indicates that the trial judge properly made a threshold determination that the severity of the Richardsons' emotional distress did not warrant a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

Rego v. Madalinski 63 N.E.3d 190 (Ohio Ct. App., 2016) In this case, appellee's dog attacked appellant's dog while on appellee's property. Veterinary bills were over $10,000, and the municipal court capped compensatory damages at the fair market value of animal of $400, reasoning that animals are considered personal property. On appeal, this court discusses situations where veterinary costs are appropriate as damages, such as veterinary malpractice suits or where the animal had special characteristics like pedigree, training, or breeding income. Though this case does not fit into those categories, the court recognizes a ‘semi-property’ or 'companion property' classification of animals, and reverse the municipal court and remand for a damages hearing.
Reed v. Vickery Slip Copy, 2009 WL 3276648 (S.D.Ohio)

A veterinarian performed a pre-purchase examination on a horse and indicated to the prospective buyers that the horse was in good health. The vet facility failed to disclose that a different vet at the same facility had injected the horse to mask lameness. The purchasers had a cause of action for negligence where the statements made by the facility constituted misrepresentations or concealment. The measure of damages was the difference between the horse’s fair market value before and after the loss.

Rabideau v. City of Racine 627 N.W.2d 795 (Wis. 2001)

Pet owner could not recover damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress after a police officer shot her dog.  While the court recognized the bond between owner and pet, public policy prevented such recovery. However, under the proper circumstances, a person could recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress for the loss of a pet.

Quave v. Bardwell 449 So.2d 81 (La.App. 1 Cir.,1984)

Plaintiff-appellee, Debbie Quave, filed this suit against defendant-appellant, Curtis Bardwell, seeking damages for the deliberate and unjustified killing of her german shepherd dog, Kilo Bandito. The court upheld an award of $2,650, finding that the assessment of damages for plaintiff’s dog was proper since they were based on the value paid, stud fees, medical care, loss of income, and replacement costs.

Puckett v. Miller 381 N.E.2d 1087 (Ind.App.,1978)

In this Indiana case, a dog owner brought action against a farmer for the negligent destruction of his two "coon dogs." The lower court granted the farmer's motion for involuntary dismissal, and dog owner appealed. The Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's two dogs, at time they were shot by defendant farmer, were “roaming unattended.” This meant that an attempt to find them had been abandoned, and they were, according to defendant's uncontradicted testimony, trying to get into defendant's chicken enclosure. Thus, defendant farmer was protected in his shooting of those dogs by state statutes that provided that any dog known to have worried any livestock or fowl or any dog found roaming over the country unattended may be lawfully killed.

Propes v. Griffith 25 S.W.3d 544 (Mo.App. W.D., 2000)

At issue on this appeal to a punitive damages award, is whether defendant's conduct in shooting her neighbors' two dogs was privileged under a Missouri statute that allows a livestock owner to kill dogs that are in the act of chasing sheep.  The court held that there was absolutely no evidence indicating the Propes' dogs, or for that matter that any dog, was the cause of the previous attack on the Griffiths' sheep and more sheep were attacked after the dogs had been euthanized.  Upon review, the court held that the punishment and deterrence of Mrs. Griffith's conduct is the precise reason for assessing punitive damages and the award of punitive damages was not arbitrary.

Price v. Brown 680 A.2d 1149 (Pa. 1996)

The issue presented in this appeal is whether a complaint based upon an alleged breach of a bailment agreement states a cause of action for injury or death suffered by an animal that has been entrusted to a veterinarian for surgical and professional treatment.  The court agreed with the trial court that the purpose for which an animal is entrusted to the care of a veterinarian is a material fact that must be considered in determining whether a plaintiff's complaint states a cause of action as a matter of law, and that Price's complaint failed to state a cause of action for professional negligence.  The court held that allegations of breach of a bailment agreement are insufficient to state a cause of action against a veterinarian who has performed surgery on an animal when the animal suffers an injury as a result or does not survive the surgery.  

Posnien v. Rogers 533 P.2d 120 (Utah 1975)

The plaintiff sought to recover damages for the defendant's negligence in the diagnosis and the treatment of plaintiff's brood mare, which resulted in the mare's infertility. Plaintiff was required to show that Dr. Rogers did not exercise the care and diligence as is ordinarily exercised by skilled veterinarians doing the same type of work in the community, and that the failure to exercise the required skill and care was the cause of the injury. Experts testified at trial that the care exercised by Dr. Rogers met the standard of care of veterinarians practicing in the area, and had they been treating the mare, the treatment would not have differed substantially from that of Dr. Rogers.  The Supreme Court held that the record is clear that the plaintiff failed to sustain his burden that the care of Dr. Rogers did not meet the standard of care of other practitioners practicing in the community.

Plotnik v. Meihaus 146 Cal.Rptr.3d 585 (Cal. App. 3 Dist.)

A long history of bad neighborly relations resulted in the plaintiffs' dog sustaining injuries from being hit with a baseball; the injuries required surgery and post-operative care. While the plaintiffs brought many causes of actions against their neighbors, a father and his two sons, this case is significant in the realm of animal law because it held that a pet owner may recover for emotional distress under the trespass to personal property cause of action. The court, however, would not allow the plaintiffs to recover for their dog's injuries under the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action because they would have recovered duplicative damages for the same transactional event.

Pickford v. Masion 98 P.3d 1232 (Wa. 2004)

Plaintiffs' dog was mauled by Defendants' dogs and sustained permanent injuries.  The trial court granted summary judgment against Plaintiffs' claims of negligent and malicious infliction of emotional distress.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of partial summary judgment and further held the destruction of the companionship relationship could not be extended to dogs.

Phillips v. North Carolina State University 697 S.E.2d 433 (N.C.App.,2010)

University operated a horse breeding management facility. Industrial Commission found that University was negligent in broodmare's death that occurred during transport. The Court of Appeals held that mare’s owners were entitled to lost profit for a single breeding cycle.

Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. v. Schuster 144 S.W.3d 554 (Tex.App.-Austin,2004)

In this Texas case, a dog owner brought an action against a Petco groomer for damages when her dog was killed after escaping from the pet groomer and running into traffic. The trial court entered a default judgment in favor of the owner and awarded damages. The Court of Appeals, held that the dog owner was not entitled to damages for mental anguish, absent pet store's ill-will, animus or desire to harm her personally. Moreover, the owner was not entitled to intrinsic value damages, lost wages, or counseling expenses.

Perkins v. Hattery 155 N.E.2d 73 (Ohio App. 1958)

This Ohio case examined the propriety of a county dog warden killing a dog that had killed a sheep nine hours before such seizure.  The Court of Appeals held that dog warden was not authorized to destroy or otherwise dispose of a duly licensed dog found and seized by such warden upon the premises of its owner following a complaint made to the warden by the owner of sheep that the dog had killed certain of his sheep approximately nine hours before such seizure.

People v. Flores 2007 WL 1683610 (Cal. App. 4 Dist.)

Defendants were tried for allegedly invading an eighty-year-old woman's home and stealing, at gun point, and holding ransom eight seven-week-old puppies and two adult female Yorkshire terriers which she bred for the American Kennel Club for about $3,000 each.  The jury held the defendants responsible for 18 counts of various crimes, including robbery, grand theft dog, elder abuse, conspiracy and cruelty to animals, inter alia.  The appellate court reversed the counts of grand theft dog which were improperly based on the same conduct as the robbery conviction, reduced the sentence on the counts for abuse of an elder, and otherwise found no additional errors. 

PARKER v. MISE 27 Ala. 480 (Ala., 1855)

In Parker v. Miser , 27 Ala. 480 (Ala. 1855), the court recognized that at common law, an action existed for the conversion or injury to property, and acknowledged dogs as property. The court went on to note that some amount of nominal damage existed for the wrongful killing of an animal, even in the absence of a precise amount. Where the killing of the animal was done in reckless disregard, a plaintiff could seek punitive damages.

Park v. Moorman Mfg. Co. 241 P.2d 914 (Utah,1952)

Plaintiffs sued defendant corporation for breach of warranty as to fitness of purpose of poultry feed concentrate after egg production dropped, hens became malnourished, and an unusual amount of picking and cannibalism developed. As to the issue of damages, the Supreme Court held instruction that plaintiff was entitled to damages in amount of market value of chickens destroyed and that provided formula by which market value of suitable replacements could be determined was correct.

Palfreyman v. Gaconnet 561 S.W.3d 258 (Tex. App. Sept. 27, 2018) This Texas appeals presents the unique question of whether companion animals, specifically "pet dogs," can be considered "stock" for awarding attorney fees under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 38.001(6) in lawsuits concerning their injury or death. The facts stem from an incident at appellees' dog boarding business where Palfreyman's two dogs died. In Palfreyman's original petition, she sought damages based on claims of negligence and gross negligence. She additionally requested reasonable attorney fee's under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 38.001(6) for "killed or injured stock." Appellees countered that Palfreyman could not recover attorney fees because the dogs were not "stock" as used in the statute. At the conclusion of trial, the trial court refused to consider the award of attorney fees. On appeal, the Court of Appeals first notes that Texas law does not allow recovery of attorney fees unless they are authorized by statute or contract. Here, the court examined the word "stock" as used in the cited law. While there is no definition in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code and the word "stock" is rarely used in Texas statutes, the term "livestock" is defined in several instances. In particular, the Penal Code distinguishes "livestock" from "nonlivestock animals" that include domesticated dogs. Further, the ordinary dictionary definition for stock would not include pets like dogs. The court was not persuaded by Palfreyman's argument that the Code should be liberally construed to promote its underlying purpose as well as her other examples of definitions for "stock." Thus, the court concluded the term “stock” in section 38.001(6) does not include pet dogs and appellant was not entitled to attorney fees under Section 38.001(6).5. Finally, Palfreyman contended in her reply brief that attorney fees may be awarded in bailment actions. However, the court declined this argument because she did not raise this in her initial brief so the court is not required to consider this new argument. The trial court's judgment was affirmed.
Pagel v. Yates 471 N.E.2d 946 (Ill.App. 4 Dist.,1984)

Horse owner sued breeder for negligence and conversion after breeder returned the wrong mare. On issue of damages, Appellate Court held that evidence was insufficient to support the jury award because 1) evidence of value of mare’s offspring four years after conversion was irrelevant and prejudicial; 2) trial court's instruction to jury allowed recovery for the horse's unborn offspring as well as fair market value of horse in foal, which permitted a double recovery; and 3) owner could not recover his expenses after he learned of switch and made no effort to resolve the problem because he had duty to avoid further loss.

Ott v. Pittman 463 S.E.2d 101 (S.C.App.,1995)

In this South Carolina case, a dog owner brought a negligence action against a hog farmer who shot two of the owner's champion "Treeing Walker Coonhound" dogs. The farmer counterclaimed, alleging damages for the dogs' action and malicious prosecution. The lower court ordered judgment for the dogs' owner (Ott) in the amount of $19,800, finding Pittman 90% liable. On the farmer's appeal, this court upheld the $19,800 award, finding sufficient support based on expert testimony about the specific qualities of the breed.

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. 

Oberschlake v. Veterinary Assoc. Animal Hosp. 785 N.E.2d 811 (Ohio App. 2 Dist.,2003)

This is the story of “Poopi,” a dog who tried to sue for emotional distress and failed. As the court observed, "Whether or not one agrees with the view that pets are more than personal property, it is clear that Ohio does not recognize noneconomic damages for injury to companion animals." While the court noted that one Ohio case has apparently left open the door for recover of distress damages, "the mental anguish in such situations must be ‘so serious and of a nature that no reasonable man could be expected to endure it.’ Even conceding the bond between many humans and their pets, the burden is one that would be very difficult to meet." Indeed, the court found that the burden was not met here.

O'Rourke v. American Kennels (Unpublished Disposition) 7 Misc.3d 1018(A) (N.Y. 2005)

In this highly entertaining Small Claims case, claimant seeks to recover the purchase price of her dog, Little Miss Muffet. The issue presented, in large part, concerns the dog's weight. Claimant contends that Muffet was supposed to be a "teacup dog." At eight pounds, she is well above the five pounds that is considered the weight limit for a "teacup" Maltese. Plaintiff paid an additional $1,000 above the standard $1,500 to purchase the smaller variety of Maltese. Plaintiff was awarded the differential in price, but not veterinary fees for a knee condition that developed after the warranty protections expired in the purchase agreement. 

Norwest v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital 293 Or. 543 (Or. 1982)

This court found that there was no common law liability where a tortfeasor's conduct caused a child to lose parental support and care. The court declined to create a new common law cause of action for parental consortium, and suggested that it was up to the legislature to create such a cause of action. However, dicta in the case refers to an invasion of the animal/animal owner relationship as actionable misconduct.

Nikolic v. Seidenberg 610 N.E.2d 177 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993)

When the pet owner adopted a dog, she signed a contract agreeing to have her dog spayed at the vet's facility and to return the dog to the vet if it was sick. For days after the surgery the dog was ill so the other vet performed exploratory surgery and repaired a cut in the dog's intestine. The pet owner filed an action to recover the medical expenses and the lower court granted the vet's motion to dismiss.  The reviewing court held that the language in the contract was not sufficiently clear and explicit to exculpate the vet from negligence because the vet was not a party to the contract and thus not a direct beneficiary of the contract.

Nichols v. Sukaro Kennels 555 N.W.2d 689 (Iowa, 1996)

During a stay at defendant kennel, the kennel owner's dog tore off plaintiff's dog's left front leg and shoulder blade.  Plaintiff's petition sought damages to compensate for the injuries and suffering the dog incurred and the loss of aesthetic intrinsic value of the dog.  In upholding the district court's denial of damages for emotional injury and mental suffering, the Court of Appeals rejected plaintiff's argument for damages based on the intrinsic value of a pet for the negligent injury to the dog.

New Hampshire Ins. Co. v. Farmer Boy AG, Inc. Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2000 WL 33125128 (S.D.Ind.)

Lightning struck a hog breeding facility, which disabled the ventilation system and killed pregnant sows. Plaintiff Insurance Company sued defendant for damages. The Court held that evidence of damages relating to the lost litters and subsequent generations was excluded because damages for future unborn litters are not recoverable when damages are recovered for the injury to or destruction of the pregnant sows.

Nationwide Horse Carriers, Inc. v. Johnston 519 S.W.2d 163 (Tex.,1974)

A pregnant mare was injured during transport and lost her foal. The owner sued carrier for damages. The Court of Civil Appeals held that horse owner was not entitled to recover damages for loss of mare’s unborn foal; that award for mare's diminished ability to produce healthy foals was excessive in light of fact that she subsequently produced a foal that survived; and that horse owner was not entitled to attorney fees since the horse was considered freight.

Murrell v. Hooter 892 So.2d 680 (5th Cir., 2004)

A champion jumping horse was struck and killed by a van after escaping through an open gate.  The horse owner sued the property owners for negligence and the trial court granted defendants' summary judgment.  The Court of Appeals reversed the decision holding the defendants were not entitled to immunity under the Equine Immunity Statute.

Moreno v. Hughes 2016 WL 212932 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 19, 2016) This § 1983 action arises from the shooting of Plaintiffs' dog by Defendant Ronald Hughes, a Michigan Department of Corrections Absconder Recovery Unit Investigator. Defendant shot Plaintiffs' dog after entering her house by mistake to execute a fugitive warrant. This proceeding concerns a Motion in Limine filed by defendant seeking an order that plaintiffs are not entitled to noneconomic losses for the pain and suffering they sustained as a result of Defendant shooting their dog. Defendant contends that damage to personal property (including dogs) is limited to market value only. In rejecting Defendant's argument, this court found that it is "beyond dispute" that compensatory damages under § 1983 may include noneconomic injuries. A Plaintiff's interests in § 1983 actions contain different policy considerations than in traditional negligence claims. In fact, the court stated that, "[p]rohibiting recovery for emotional damages stemming from the loss of, or harm to, an animal caused by a constitutional violation would conflict with the compensatory and deterrence aims of § 1983." Additionally, applying Michigan law on the issue of emotional damages for injury to an animal would create inconsistency in civil rights actions since other states allow such damages. The court found that the determination of both compensatory and punitive damages must be left to the fact finder for each case, including this one. Defendant's Motion in Limine was denied.
Montgomery v. Lester 201 So. 3d 966 (La. App. 3 Cir. 9/28/16), writ denied, 2016-1944 (La. 12/16/16), 212 So. 3d 1173 In this case, the Lesters appealed the judgment of the trial court awarding the Montgomerys $200,000 for the injury and death of their thoroughbred house that was caused by the Lester’s dog. The Lester’s dog chased after and barked at the horse, causing the horse to attempt to climb a fence which severely injured the horsed. The injuries were so severe that the horse was later euthanized. The Montgomerys filed suit against the Lesters and awarded $200,000 in damages. On appeal, the Lesters argued that the claims filed by the Montgomerys should be dismissed because they have “no personal right to claim the damages asserted” because “the registered owner of the horse at issue was Montgomery Equine Center, LLC and not the [Montgomerys].”The court reviewed the issue and determined that the Montgomerys were entitled to damages because they were the rightful owners of the horse. The court held that “registration of a horse does not prove ownership under Louisiana Law.” As a result, the court found that although the horse was registered to the Montgomery Equine Center, the Montgomerys were still the owners of the horse and therefore entitled to the damages that were awarded by the trial court judge.
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.

Mitchell v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. 188 F.Supp. 869 (D.C.Cal. 1960)

In Mitchell v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. , 188 F.Supp. 869 (S.D. Cal. 1960), an expert was allowed to testify about a dog’s income-potential based on evidence that the dog could perform special tricks and made numerous appearances at charitable events. A jury verdict amounting to $5,000 was upheld where the court determined that the amount was not excessive and evidence of the dog’s income potential was not improper.

Mitchell v. Heinrichs 27 P.3d 309 (Alaska, 2001)

Defendant shot plaintiff's dogs after perceiving they were a threat to her livestock and her when they trespassed upon her property.  In denying defendant's claim for punitive damages, the court observed that in this case, defendant's conduct, while drastic, did not rise to the level of outrageousness.  With regard to the trial court's award of only the market value of the dog to plaintiff , the court noted that it agreed with those courts that recognize that the actual value of the pet to the owner, rather than the fair market value, is sometimes the proper measure of the pet's value.  However, the court declined to award Mitchell damages for her dog's sentimental value as a component of actual value to her as the dog's owner.

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.

Mills v. Guthrie County Rural Elec. Co-op. Ass'n 454 N.W.2d 846 (1990)

Rural electric cooperative association caused fire that destroyed hog farrowing facility. Customers sued to recover damages. The Supreme Court held that: (1) punitive damages were not recoverable; (2) customers did not have claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress; but (3) evidence of lost profits from future pig litters as a measure of business interruption damages should not have been excluded.

Miller v. Peraino 626 A.2d 637 (Pa.Super., 1993)

The incident generating this dispute after two veterinary assistants claimed that Miller viciously beat plaintiff's dog Nera to death because he was having difficulty getting the dog from the basement recovery room to the waiting area upstairs where the dog would be picked up.  The sole issue on this appeal is the dismissal of plaintiff's cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress resulting from both the dog's death and the veterinarian's behavior during plaintiff's picketing of his business.  Relying on both the Restatement (Second) of Torts and a prior decision inDaughen v. Fox, the court held that intentional infliction of emotional distress cannot legally be founded upon a veterinarian's behavior toward an animal. 

Medlen v. Strickland 353 S.W.3d 576 (2011,Tex.App.-Fort Worth)

[Reversed by Texas Supreme Court: 397 S.W.3d 184 (Tex. 2013)]. The Medlens sued Strickland for Avery's “sentimental or intrinsic value” because the dog had little or no market value and was irreplaceable. The trial court found that Texas law barred such damages, and dismissed the suit with prejudice. On appeal, the court stated that several opinions have supported damages based on sentimental or intrinsic value for personal property where the property has little or no market value. Because dogs are personal property that hold a special value to their owners, the court found that it was consistent to extend sentimental damages for the loss of a pet. The action was remanded for further proceedings.

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.

McMahon v. Craig 176 Cal.App.4th 1502, 97 Cal.Rptr.3d 555 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2009)

In this California case, the plaintiff appealed a demurrer granted by the trial court on her claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress and portions of her complaint struck that sought damages for emotional distress and loss of companionship. The case stems from defendant-veterinarian's care of plaintiff's Maltese dog after surgery. Defendant also lied to plaintiff and falsified records concerning the treatment of the dog. On appeal of the trial court demurrer, this court held that an owner cannot recover emotional distress damages for alleged veterinary malpractice. The court found that it would be incongruous to impose a duty on a veterinarian to avoid causing emotional distress to the owner of the animal being treated, while not imposing such a duty on a doctor to the parents of a child receiving treatment.

McElroy v. Carter Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2006 WL 2805141 (Tenn.Ct.App.)

In this Tennessee case, a man shot and wounded a cat owned by his neighbor as the animal exited from the bed of the man's prized pickup truck. The cat died from its wounds shortly thereafter. The neighbor sued for the veterinary bills she incurred for treatment of the cat's injuries. The truck owner counter-sued for the damage the cat allegedly caused to his truck by scratching the paint. After a bench trial, the court awarded the truck's owner $6,500 in damages, which it offset by a $372 award to the neighbor for her veterinary bills. The Court of Appeals reversed that decision finding that as a matter of law the cat's owner cannot be held liable for not keeping her cat confined when the damage the cat allegedly caused was not foreseeable.

McDougall v. Lamm (unpublished) Not Reported in 2010 WL 5018258 (2010)

Plaintiff witnessed her dog be killed by Defendant's dog. The  court held that Plaintiff’s damages were limited to her dog's “intrinsic” monetary value or its replacement cost. Plaintiff was not entitled to compensation for the emotional distress she experienced in witnessing the attack.

McDougall v. Lamm 48 A.3d 312 (N.J.,2012)

This New Jersey case considered whether a pet owner should be permitted to recover for emotional distress caused by observing the traumatic death of that pet. The incident giving rise to this case occurred when plaintiff's "maltipoo" dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor's larger dog as she was walking her dog. Plaintiff then brought an action against the owner of the larger dog, alleging negligence and emotional distress. The lower court entered partial summary judgment to the owner of the large dog on the emotional distress claim, and a bench trial awarded plaintiff replacement costs for her dog. On appeal here, the Supreme Court recognized that while many individuals develop close, familial bonds with their pets, expanding a cause of action for emotional distress due to the loss of a pet would create "ill-defined and amorphous cause of action that would elevate the loss of pets to a status that exceeds the loss of all but a few human beings."

McDonald v. Ohio State Univ. Veterinary Hospital 644 N.E.2d 750 (Ohio Ct.Cl., 1994)

After defendant filed a stipulation admitting liability for a botched surgery on defendant's show dog that ultimately led to euthanization, a trial was held as to the issue of damages.  Evidence adduced at trial showed that "Nemo" had been trained by plaintiff as a Schutzhund or "sport dog" in Schutzhund schooling.  The court noted that while dogs are considered personal property in Ohio and market value is the standard award for such personal property, market value in this case was merely a "guideline."  In addition to the loss of the specially trained dog, the court also found significant the loss of stud fees for the dog and potential future gains in sustaining the trial court's award of $5,000 in damages.  

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