Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Davis v. Animal Control–City of Evansville 948 N.E.2d 1161 (Ind., 2011)

Dog attack victim sued city and its animal control department, seeking damages for injuries he sustained from a dog attack in his neighborhood. The victim claimed that the city failed to enforce its animal control ordinance. The Supreme Court held that city and its animal control department had law enforcement immunity because the Tort Claims Act provided immunity to governmental entities for any loss due to failure to enforce a law.

Davis v. Gaschler 14 Cal.Rptr.2d 679 (Cal.App.3.Dist.)

In this California case, plaintiff noticed two women in the process of assisting an injured dog, which was owned by defendants, while driving down the road. Plaintiff, an experienced dog breeder and handler, assisted the women and was bitten by plaintiff's dog. The dog had not been vaccinated for rabies, and plaintiff was required to undergo antirabies treatment. Plaintiff sought appeal of the lower court's granting of summary judgment for the defendant. The Court of Appeal reversed. It held that defendants had the burden to establish that this was a case of primary assumption of the risk-where, by virtue of the nature of the activity and the parties' relationship to the activity, defendants owed no legal duty to plaintiff. The court held that the complaint alleged facts sufficient to impose a duty on the part of defendants, based on allegations that they owned and negligently controlled the dog that bit plaintiff.

Davison v. Berg 243 So.3d 489 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Mar. 22, 2018) Deborah Davison volunteered at her local Humane Society to help take care of a dog park. Three years later, Rebecca Berg’s dog who was chasing other dogs collided with Davison. Davison suffered a broken leg that required extensive medical care. Davison then filed an action against Berg under a Florida statute that “imposes liability on dog owners for damage their dogs cause to other persons and animals.” The trial court granted final summary judgment in favor of Berg for two reasons. The first reason was that the signs outside of the park sufficiently warned Davison of the risks of injury inside. The second reason was that Davison essentially consented to the risk of potential injuries by being a volunteer for the dog park. On appeal, this court stated that the Florida statute was a strict liability statute that makes an owner the insurer of their dog’s conduct. The only defense to the statute is for an owner to display in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign that includes the words “Bad Dog.” Berg presented evidence that the park had two signs prominently displayed at the entrance to the park with the title “Dog Park Rules.” The two signs listed rules for entrance to the dog park. One of these rules stated that park use is at the dog owner’s risk. Another rule stated that rough play and chasing were not allowed if any dogs or owners were uncomfortable with that behavior. The last rule stated that visitors enter at their own risk. Even though Davison entered the park at her own risk, the purpose of the sign requirement in the statute was to give notice that a bad dog is on the premises. The Court found that the trial court erred in finding that the signs at the dog park were sufficiently equivalent to “Bad Dog” signs to preclude liability under the Florida statute. The trial court also found that by virtue of Davison volunteering at the dog park, she was aware that she could be injured during the course of her work and that she signed a volunteer application form that acknowledged that she could be exposed to “bites, scratches, and other injuries.” Davison had also witnessed a prior collision between a dog and an individual that resulted in a broken leg. After witnessing that, Davison began to warn others at the Humane Society about the dangers of being inside the dog park with dogs chasing each other. The Court held that even though there may be evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that Davison consented to the risk of injury, “an actual consent or assumption of the risk defense cannot bar liability.” The Court reversed the trial court’s entry of final summary judgment in favor of Berg.
De Leon v. Vornado Montehiedra Acquisition L.P. 166 F. Supp. 3d 171 (D.P.R. 2016) The defendant in this case sought to dismiss plaintiff’s case, stating that the plaintiff claim did not have proper constitutional standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court denied defendant’s request and held that plaintiff did present sufficient evidence to establish standing under the ADA. In order to establish standing, the plaintiff needed to prove three elements: (1) actual or threatened injury, (2) causal connection between the injury and the challenged conduct, and (3) that a favorable court decision can redress the injury. The court determined that plaintiff did satisfy all three elements by showing that plaintiff’s disabled daughter was not allowed in defendant’s shopping mall with her service dog after the mall security guard was not properly informed of protocol regarding service dogs. Ultimately, the security guard mistakenly believed that the service dog needed documentation in order to enter the mall; however, the dog was properly identified as a certified service dog and should have been allowed into the mall. Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied.
Deardorff v. Farnsworth 343 P.3d 687, review denied, 358 Or. 145 (2015)

In this case, the Oregon Court of Appeals was reviewing whether or not the trial court erred in holding that an insurance company was estopped from relying on an exclusion in an insurance policy. The plaintiffs in this case were transporting horses in California that were owned by other when the trailer carrying the horses caught fire. The insurers for the horse owners compensated the horse owners and then filed an action against plaintiffs. As a result, plaintiffs charged the defense of the action to their insurer, OMI. OMI refused to provide a defense for the plaintiffs, arguing that it was not covered in the insurance policy. Plaintiffs filed an action against OMI to recover the costs arguing that they were verbally told that this would be covered in the policy. The trial court ordered summary judgment for the plaintiffs, holding that OMI was estopped from denying liability because it had breached its contract with plaintiff. Ultimately, the court of appeals reviewed the issue and determined that the trial court had erred in its decision. The court of appeals found that based on applicable case law, estoppel cannot be used to negate an express exclusion in an insurance policy. As a result, the court reversed the trial court's decision and remanded the case.

Decision AHC4806-2017 Decision AHC4806-2017 (Original case in Spanish below; English translation attached as pdf). The Supreme Court of Justice rules in favor of the spectacled bear, ‘Chucho’, granting him the habeas corpus after the bear’s attorney challenged the lower court decision that denied it. Chucho is a 22 year old spectacled bear that was born and raised in semi-captivity. He lived for 18 years in a natural reserve in the city of Manizales with his sister. After his sister died, Chucho became depressed and started escaping. The environmental authorities thought that it would be in the best interest of the bear to relocate him, for which they decided to move him to a zoo in the northern of Colombia. Unfortunately, the living conditions of Chucho were diminished, as he went from living in semi-captivity to living into a smaller area. Attorney Luis Domingo Maldonado filed an habeas corpus in representation of the bear that was denied on first instance by the civil chamber of the Superior Tribunal of Manizales. Attorney Luis Domingo Maldonado argued that the current legal system did not have a specific proper mechanism that allowed the taking of immediate and urgent measures to protect the rights of animals as sentient beings to retire them for centers of captivity when they have spent their lives in natural reserves. He also used as examples the precedents from Brazil and Argentina where a chimpanzee and an orangutan were granted habeas corpus. Attorney Maldonado sought that the court order the immediate and permanent relocation of Chucho to the natural reserve ‘La Planada’, located in the Department of Narino. The Civil Chamber reversed the decision on first instance, and ordered the relocation of Chucho from the zoo in Barranquilla to a more appropriate location of semi-captivity conditions. In its reasoning, the magistrate judge stated that animals are entitled to rights as sentient beings, not as humans, and that the idea is to insert a morality of respect to counter a global ecological public order where the tendency of men is to destroy the habitat. After long considerations, the chamber stated that it is necessary to modify the concept of ‘subject of rights’ in relation with nature, understanding that who is subject of rights is not necessarily correlatively-bound to have duties. “The legal, ethical and political purpose is the unavoidable need to create a strong conscience to protect the vital environment for the survival of men, conservation of the environment and as a frontal fight against the irrationality in the man-nature relationship.”
Decision STL12651-2017 Decision STL12651-2017 The Labor Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice decided on an action of ‘tutela’ filed by la Fundación Botánica y Zoológica de Barranquilla, Fundazoo against the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court, Luis Domingo Gómez Maldonado, Corpocaldas and others. The Plaintiffs argued that the Defendants had violated their rights to due process and right to defense, as well as the principle of legality and contradiction, when the Defendant ordered the transfer of the spectacled bear ‘Chucho’ from the Barranquilla zoo to a natural reserve in Narino. Plaintiff sought to leave without effect Decision AHC4806 2017 that granted habeas corpus to ‘Chucho’, the spectacled bear, allowing the bear to stay at the Barranquilla Zoo, which according to Plaintiffs, is able to provide Chucho with all the requirements for his well being, including veterinary care, food, companionship and infrastructure. The Labor Chamber decided for the Plaintiff and left without effect the decision of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court, arguing that the Civil Chamber had ruled based on norms that did not apply to the specific case, to a point that the effects of such application had resulted in an interpretation that completely deferred to what the legislative had intended. The Civil Chamber, the court said in its reasoning, wrongly applied the procedure of habeas corpus, which led to the violation of the due process of law of the Plaintiffs, as ‘Chucho’ has no legal capacity to be a party in a legal procedure. The labor chamber explained that from a constitutional view, the granting of habeas corpus for the protection of animals was not proper, as it is established to protect the right to freedom of persons, which is the basis for a society. For that reason, it can only be attributable to human beings that can be individualized. This rules out the other beings to use this mechanism, including legal persons, as it would erode the real essence of this legal mechanism, the court stated. Furthermore, the magister judge states that the legal treatment that has been given to animals corresponds to the sentients beings, which implies their protection, rather than persons. This means that humans have the responsibility to respect animals, but does not imply that animals can fight for their freedom through the mechanism of habeas corpus, in these cases the defense of animals cannot be resolved by giving them the status of persons, but rather through judicial mechanisms such as popular actions (for the protection of collective and diffuse rights and interests), or with preventive material apprehension
Defenders of Wildlife v. Dalton 97 F. Supp. 2d 1197 (2000)

Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction to prevent defendant government official from lifting the embargo against tuna from Mexico's vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Plaintiffs alleged irreparable injury if three stocks of dolphins became extinct. The court found plaintiffs failed to produce evidence showing irreparable injury. 

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall 565 F.Supp.2d 1160 (D.Mont., 2008)

The case concerns the delisting of the wolf from the Endangered Species list that occurred in March of 2008. Plaintiffs-Defenders of Wildlife moved for a preliminary injunction, asking the Court to reinstate ESA protections for the wolf. Specifically, plaintiffs argue that even though the Fish & Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) original environmental impact statement (EIS) on wolf reintroduction conditioned the delisting on a finding of genetic exchange between populations, and there is no evidence that such exchange has occurred. Further, the Service approved Wyoming's 2007 wolf management plan even though the Wyoming plan still contains provisions that the Service previously found inadequate. On the whole, the court found that plaintiffs demonstrated a possibility of irreparable harm and granted plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction. As a result, the Endangered Species Act protections were reinstated for the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf pending final resolution of this matter on the merits.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall 565 F.Supp.2d 1160 (D. Mont. 2008)

Several wildlife organizations challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's designation and delisting of the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf distinct population segment under the Endangered Species Act.  This decision involved a motion for preliminary injunction.   The court found that the plaintiffs had a substantial likelihood of success on the merits and the organizations and wolves would likely suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction.  Thus, the motion for preliminary injunction was granted.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall 807 F.Supp.2d 972 (D.Mont., 2011)

Several wildlife organizations filed suit to challenge the FWS's Final Rule delisting the gray wolf Northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment.  The case was put on hold pending the outcome of several other legal battles regarding the wolf's status on the Endangered Species List, during which gray wolf protections were reinstated.  Then, after Congress passed the 2011 fiscal year budget which contained a provision requiring the FWS to delist the Northern Rocky Mountain DPS, the court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Hogarth 177 F. Supp. 2d 1336 (2001)

Environmental groups challenge implementations of the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act ("IDCPA") which amended the MMPA and revised the criteria for banning tuna imports.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell 2014 WL 4714847 (D.D.C. 2014) (unpublished) In 2012, a rule transferred management of the gray wolf in Wyoming from federal control to state control. In the present case, plaintiffs Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Fund for Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club, challenged the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list in Wyoming. Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, and maintained that the decision was arbitrary and capricious because Wyoming's regulatory mechanisms were inadequate to protect the species, the level of genetic exchange shown in the record did not warrant delisting, and the gray wolf was endangered within a significant portion of its range. Given the level of genetic exchange reflected in the record, the Court decided not to disturb the finding that the species had recovered, and it would not overturn the agency's determination that the species was not endangered or threatened within a significant portion of its range. However, the Court concluded that it was arbitrary and capricious for the Service to rely on the state's nonbinding promises to maintain a particular number of wolves when the availability of that specific numerical buffer was such a critical aspect of the delisting decision. The Court therefore granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in part, denied it in part, and remanded the matter back to the agency.
Defenders of Wildlife v. Kempthorne 2006 WL 2844232

Ten non-profit groups sued the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) alleging that the FWS had not adequately explained why the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southern Rockies were not a significant area of lynx habitat under the Endangered Species Act, as the FWS had previously been ordered by the court to do. Additionally, the non-profit groups claimed that the FWS had violated Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by passing regulations which made it easier for federal agencies to thin trees in lynx habitat under the Healthy Forest Initiative. The Court ordered the FWS to explain why the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southern Rockies were not a significant area of lynx habitat, but found that the challenged regulations making it easier to thin trees in lynx habitat were permissible.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Norton 239 F.Supp.2d 9 (D.D.C. 2002)

Plaintiffs, twelve conservation organizations and one individual involved in Lynx conservation efforts, challenge a final decision by the USFWS declaring the Lynx in the contiguous United States to be a "threatened," rather than "endangered," species under the Endangered Species Act.  Plaintiffs allege that the designation of the Lynx as threatened is "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law," in violation of § 706(2)(A) of the Administrative Procedure Act and that the Service has violated the ESA by failing to designate "critical habitat" for the Lynx as required by that statute.  The Court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs, finding that the FWS's conclusion that, "[c]ollectively, the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Southern Rockies do not constitute a significant portion of the range of the DPS," (three of the Lynx's four regions) were collectively not a significant portion of its range was counterintuitive and contrary to the plain meaning of the ESA phrase "significant portion of its range."  With regard to the FWS's failure to designate critical habitat, the excessive delays experienced by the FWS ran completely counter to the mandate of the ESA and were without proper justification. 

Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar 729 F.Supp.2d 1207 (D.Mont.,2010)

In February of 2008, Defendant, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (the "Service"), issued a final ruling to delist the Rocky Mountain gray wolf species, removing the ESA’s protections throughout the northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment ("DPS"), except in Wyoming. Twelve parties challenged the final ruling, arguing, foremost, that the decision violates the ESA by only partially protecting a listed population. The United States District Court for the District of Montana issued two findings: (1) the ESA does not allow the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list only part of a species as endangered, or to protect a listed distinct population segment only in part; and (2) the legislative history of the ESA does not support the Service’s interpretation of the phrase "significant portion of its range," but instead supports the long-standing view that the ESA does not allow a distinct population to be subdivided. Accordingly, the Service’s ruling to delist the Rocky Mountain gray wolf was vacated as invalid and Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment was granted.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar 776 F.Supp.2d 1178 (D.Mont., 2011)

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's 2009 Final Rule unlawfully delisted wolves in Idaho and Montana from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Rule was vacated. The Court held that it had no authority to decide that it would be more equitable to ignore Congress' instruction on how an endangered species must be protected so that the wolves could be taken under the states' management plans. In addition, the Court held that it was inappropriate for the Court to approve a settlement at the expense of the Non–Settling Litigants' legal interests.

Defenders of Wildlife v. Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior 354 F.Supp.2d 1156(D. Or. 2005)

Plaintiffs challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) "downlisting" of the gray wolf from endangered to threatened status through publication of its Final Rule.  The Final Rule delists the gray wolf in 14 southeastern states based on "listing error" because that region was not part of the gray wolf's historical range.  The court held that the FWS's extension of boundaries of only DPSs in which gray wolf populations had achieved recovery goals to encompass wolf's entire historical range was arbitrary and capricious.  FWS's downlisting of entire DPSs, without analyzing threats to the gray wolf outside of its current range, was inconsistent with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and thus was arbitrary and capricious. 

Defenders of Wildlife v. Tuggle 607 F.Supp.2d 1095 (D.Ariz.,2009)

In this case, the Plaintiffs, WildEarth Guardians and the Rewilding Institute (Guardians) and the Defenders of Wildlife (Defenders) challenged procedures for wolf control actions as part of the Mexican wolf reintroduction project within the Blue Range Recovery Area (BRWRA) by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Plaintiffs claims centered on NEPA and ESA violations based on USFWS' adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2003(MOU) and issuance of Standard Operating Procedure 13 (SOP). USFWS filed motions to dismiss these claims for lack of jurisdiction because they argued that neither the MOU nor SOP 13 was a final agency action. Here, the rights and responsibilities of the interested parties were spelled out in the 2003 MOU and SOP 13, similar to if USFWS had issued an interpretive rule covering wolf control measures. Thus, the Court found that the 2003 MOU and SOP 13 "mark the consummation of the agency's decisionmaking process in respect to wolf control measures." The Court also found that the plaintiffs presented duplicate claims under the ESA and APA. USFWS's motion to dismiss was also denied as were the duplicative claims.

Defenders of Wildlife v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 420 F.3d 946 (9th Cir. 2005)

 

Several public interest groups brought actions challenging Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to transfer Clean Water Act (CWA) pollution permitting program for Arizona to that State.  Under federal law, a state may take over the Clean Water Act pollution permitting program in its state from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if it applies to do so and meets the applicable standards.  When deciding whether to transfer permitting authority, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued, and the EPA relied on, a Biological Opinion premised on the proposition that the EPA lacked the authority to take into account the impact of that decision on endangered species and their habitat.  The plaintiffs in this case challenge the EPA's transfer decision, particularly its reliance on the Biological Opinion's proposition regarding the EPA's limited authority.  The court held that the EPA did have the authority to consider jeopardy to listed species in making the transfer decision, and erred in determining otherwise. For that reason among others, the EPA's decision was arbitrary and capricious. Accordingly, the court granted the petition and remanded to the EPA.

Dehart v. Town of Austin 39 F.3d 718 (7th Cir. 1994)

The breeder was in the business of buying, breeding, raising, and selling of exotic and wild animals. The town passed an ordinance making it unlawful to keep certain wild animals, and the breeder filed suit challenging the constitutionality of a local ordinance.  On appeal, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the town because: (1) the ordinance was not preempted by the Animal Welfare Act; (2) the ordinance was not an impermissible attempt to regulate interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause; and (3) the town did not deprive him of his property interest in his federal and state licenses without due process.

DeLany v. Kriger Slip Copy, 2019 WL 1307453 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 20, 2019) This unpublished Tennessee case concerns a veterinary negligence action. The owners of a cat filed a wrongful death complaint against the cat's veterinarian and animal hospital after the cat was killed when the veterinarian wrongly placing a feeding tube into the cat's trachea rather than her esophagus, causing the cat to aspirate and die when she was fed through the tube. The trial court held that the defendants were not liable because the cat was so ill she was likely to die anyway, and thus dismissed the complaint. The cat was 10-years old when she was brought in because she was acting a "little slow" and had not eaten in a couple days. Through discovery and at trial, it was observed that the cat had a septic abscess on her liver with a 79% mortality rate. On appeal here, this court first took issue with the trial court's finding for causation in the negligence analysis. This court found that the evidence was "undisputed" that the cat died as a result of the improperly placed feeding tube, which was further supported by x-rays showing the feeding tube in the trachea rather than the esophagus. Because the trial court did not find causation, damages were not addressed. Here, the court noted that domestic pets are considered private property in Tennessee. The law is settled that a pet owner can recover for the wrongful death of his or her pet in the state. Further, Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-17-403 provides that a dog or cat owner is entitled to recover up to $5,000 in noneconomic damages for "the unlawful and intentional, or negligent, act of another or the animal of another . . ." but that no award of noneconomic damages is permitted in “an action for professional negligence against a licensed veterinarian.” While Mr. DeLany testified he considered the cat's fair market value at $5,000, another veterinarian joined as a defendant testified that a healthy cat has a value of around $75 and a sick cat has a value of $0.40. The appellate court stated that the calculation of damages is a matter for the fact-finder, and the case was remanded to the trial court to determine the appropriate amount of economic damages. This would include, but not be limited to, the medical bills incurred for Callie's treatment and the cost of replacing Callie, said the court.
Demeo v. Manville 68 Ill.App.3d 843 (1979)

This is an Illinois' small claims action involving the death of plaintiffs' show dog. Plaintiff alleged that defendant ran over the dog while it was tied up near the driveway. Defendant denied plaintiff’s allegations that defendant ran over the dog and used a cover-up story. The court upheld an award of five-hundred dollars although the purchase price was two-hundred. Plaintiff testified that he paid $200 for his dog when it was a puppy, but it had appeared in four shows, winning first prize in each. Evidence was considered for commercial value and special qualities in that case.  

Dempsey v. Rosenthal 121 Misc.2d 612 (N.Y. 1983)

A buyer of a poodle brought an action against a kennel, seeking to recover purchase price on ground that poodle was "defective" due to an undescended testicle.  The buyer argued that the kennel had breached implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The Civil Court of the City of New York held that since the contract of sale did not exclude or modify implied warranty of merchantability, it carried with it such a warranty.  In light of this, the poodle was not a merchantable good because a poodle with an undescended testicle would not pass without objection in the trade.  Further, the kennel breached the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose since the kennel was aware that the buyer wanted a dog for breeding purposes.  This case is also significant because the court also held that a buyer's opportunity to examine the dog when purchasing it does not defeat a warranty claim.  Indeed, the type of examination would not be undertaken by a casual buyer of a male puppy.  The court allowed buyer to revoke her acceptance of the dog and receive her purchase price.

Department of Game of Wash. v. Puyallup Tribe 94 S.Ct. 330 (1973)

The Washington Department of Game and the Department of Fisheries brought action for declaratory judgment that members of the Puyallup Indian tribe were not exempt from application of state fishery conservation measures.  The Supreme Court held that commercial net fishing by Puyallup Indians, for which the Indians have treaty protection, Puyallup Tribe v. Dept. of Game, 391 U.S. 392, 88 S.Ct. 1725, 20 L.Ed.2d 689, forecloses the bar against net fishing of steelhead trout imposed by Washington State Game Department's regulation, which discriminates against the Puyallups, and as long as steelhead fishing is permitted, the regulation must achieve an accommodation between the Puyallups' net-fishing rights and the rights of sports fishermen.

Department of Local Government and Regional Development v Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd Western Australia Magistrates Court, 8 February 2008, Magistrate C.P. Crawford

The central allegation was that the defendants transported the sheep in a way likely to cause unnecessary harm. Magistrate Crawford found that the sheep, some of which died from inanition, suffered distress and harm and that this harm was unnecessary. Proof of actual harm, however, was unnecessary as it only had to be shown that it was likely that the sheep would suffer harm. This required evidence pointing only to the conditions onboard the ship, and voyage plan, as at the first day. The defences of necessity and honest and reasonable belief were both dismissed.

DeRobertis by DeRobertis v. Randazzo 462 A.2d 1260 (N.J. 1983)

The principal issue in this New Jersey case is the liability of a dog owner to an infant plaintiff bitten by the owner's dog. At trial the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs, and the Appellate Division, in an unreported opinion, affirmed. A factual issue existed at the trial, however, as to whether the infant plaintiff was lawfully on the property of the owner, but the trial court did not submit that question to the jury. The omission is important because the "dog-bite" statute, N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, imposes absolute liability on an owner whose dog bites someone who is "lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog." If the plaintiff was a trespasser, he was not lawfully on the property, and liability should not be determined under the statute but according to common-law principles.  It was necessary to find that the invitation to infant plaintiff to be on defendant's property extended to the area where the dog was chained.

Desanctis v. Pritchard 803 A.2d 230 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2002) The trial court dismissed a couple's complaint asking the court to enforce a settlement agreement which provided for shared custody of the couple's dog.  The appellate court upheld that decision, holding that the settlement agreement was void to the extent that it attempted to award visitation or shared custody with personal property.
DeVaul v. Carvigo Inc. 526 N.Y.S.2d 483 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,1988)

This New York case involved a dog bite victim who brought an action against the owner to recover for personal injuries. The Supreme Court, Nassau County entered judgment in favor of owner. On appeal with the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, the court held that the viciousness of German shepherd dogs was not appropriate subject of judicial notice. The court found that there is no authority for the proposition that judicial notice should be taken "as to the ferocity of any particular type of domestic animal."

Diamond v. Chakrabarty 447 U.S. 303 (1980)

In this case, the Supreme Court of the United States asserts that patent protection may exist for "anything under the sun," so long as it is created by man.  This has permitted genetically engineered animals to be patentable subject matter in the United States.  For more information on patent protection in the United States, see the Patent Act. 

Dias v. City and County of Denver 567 F.3d 1169 (C.A.10 (Colo.),2009)

The Tenth Circuit took up a challenge to Denver's breed-specific ban against pitbull dogs. The plaintiffs, former residents of Denver, contended the ban is unconstitutionally vague on its face and deprives them of substantive due process. The district court dismissed both claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) before plaintiffs presented evidence to support their claims. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the district court erred by prematurely dismissing the case at the 12(b)(6) stage. The Tenth Circuit agreed in part, finding that while the plaintiffs lack standing to seek prospective relief for either claim because they have not shown a credible threat of future prosecution, taking the factual allegations in the complaint as true the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the pit bull ban is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

Dicesare v. Stout 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 9796

The plaintiff was convicted under an Oklahoma anti-cruelty statute after officer seized his malnourished and neglected horses.  Later, plaintiff brought suit against the officers under 42 U.S.C 1983 claiming that the officers had violated his Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.  The court dismissed the plaintiff's claim after it determined that  a horse corral near a home was not protected by the Fourth Amendment where the area was used for pastureland and the fence enclosing the area did not and was not intended to prevent the public from viewing the area.      

DICKERSON v. BRITTINGHAM. 86 A. 106 (Del.Super. 1913)

In this Delaware case, the plaintiff brought an action against the defendant to recover damages for the death of plaintiff's horse, alleged to have been caused by the negligent driving by the defendant of his team. This resulted in a head-on collision, which caused the death of the horse days after. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal, the court held that if the jury believed from the evidence presented that the defendant was driving without ordinary care, the verdict should stand for the plaintiff.

Diehl v. Cumberland Mut. Fire Ins. Co. 686 A.2d 785 (N.J.Super.A.D.,1997)

 In this New Jersey case, the plaintiff was bitten by a dog when walking around the back of pickup and $55,000 in damages were awarded.   The issue on appeal concerned the issue of which insurance policy, auto or homeowners, should cover this type of incident. The court adopted the nexus test; the auto insurance is liable if the injury arises out of the operation of a vehicle. The Court held :   “We are satisfied that automobile liability insurance should cover this injury caused by a dog bite to the face occurring while the dog was in the open rear deck of a pickup truck because it arose out of the use of the vehicle to transport the dog. Moreover, the bite incident was facilitated by the height and open design of the deck. In our view the act was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the use of the vehicle, and there was a substantial nexus between the dog bite and the use of the vehicle at the time the dog bit the plaintiff.”

Diercks v. Wisconsin 2006 WL 3761333 (E.D. Wis. 2006)

An owner of a greyhound kennel was suspected of giving her dogs illegal steroids because an informant told the government agency this was happening. The particular steroid used was impossible to detect using urine samples, so the government agency, without a warrant, installed covert video cameras in the kennel and that way determined that the owner was injecting her dogs. The owner claimed this violated her Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights, and the court agreed; however, the agency actors were not liable because the state of the law on this issue was not clear and it was reasonable for them to think they could legally install the video surveillance system.

Dillon v. Greenbriar Digging Service 919 So.2d 172 (Miss. 2005)

In this Mississippi case, a horse owner brought negligence action against digging service when one of his horses was found dead near a trench dug by the service; the service refused to compensate owner for the value of his horse. The lower court found in favor of the digging service. On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court, finding that the digging service used reasonable care in digging and filling of horse owner's trench.

DILLON v. O'CONNOR 412 P.2d 126 (Wash. 1966)

As the court stated, "This is ‘The Case of the Costly Canine.' ‘Bimbo,’ an acknowledged ‘tree hound' but without pedigree or registration papers, lost a bout with defendant's automobile. For ‘Bimbo's' untimely demise, his owner, plaintiff, brought suit against defendant alleging that ‘Bimbo’ was killed as a result of defendant's negligent operation of his automobile." Ultimately, the court used a market value approach in determining damages.  However, based on subsequent caselaw, it should be noted that Washington uses the market value approach only for negligent injury, and not intentional injury.

Dilorenzo v. Costco Wholesale Corp. 515 F.Supp.2d 1187 (W.D.Wash.)

Plaintiff is a disabled individual who suffers from a variety of ailments arising after her service in the armed forces. Plaintiff's claims arise from interactions with Costco store employees on two separate shopping trips with her service dog. Store employees inquired as to what task the dog performed and objected to the dog being carried in plaintiff's arms around the store. Plaintiff brings her claims under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court found that Defendant's employees did not exceed the boundaries of a permissible inquiry under the ADA with regard to her service dog, where they never asked Plaintiff to state her disability or demanded proof of special training.

Dixon v. State 455 S.W.3d 669 (Tex. App. 2014), petition for discretionary review refused (Apr. 29, 2015) An owner of a non-profit cat sanctuary, which housed over 200 cats taken care of by one employee, was convicted by a jury of four counts of non-livestock animal cruelty. The trial court placed the owner under community supervision for five years' on each charge, to be served concurrently. In her first issue on appeal, the owner contended the evidence was legally insufficient to support her convictions. Based on evidence that the owner only had one employee to take care of the cats, however, the Texas court of appeals overruled this issue. In her second issue on appeal, the owner contended that the trial court erred by overruling her motion to dismiss the indictments where the State alleged a felony by commission of elements defined as a misdemeanor under the animal cruelty statute. On this issue, the court stated that it was true that the State had to prove that appellant failed to provide food, water, or care to the cats, but it also had to prove death or serious bodily injury to the cat that was committed in a cruel manner, i.e., by causing unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering. In other words, the failure to provide food, water, or care is the manner and means by which appellant killed the cats, causing them unjustified pain or suffering, which raised the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. The second issue was therefore affirmed. The appeals court also overruled the owner’s other issues and thereby affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
Dodge v. Durdin 187 S.W.3d 523 (Tex. App.-Hous. (1 Dist.), 2005)

 Employee brought a negligence action against employer for injuries suffered when administering medicine to an untamed horse.  District Court granted summary judgment stating that the plaintiff was considered a "participant" under the Equine Act.  Plaintiff appealed.  Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case stating that the Equine Act did not apply because the Act covered consumers, not employees. 

Dog Federation of Wisconsin, Inc. v. City of South Milwaukee 178 Wis.2d 353, 504 N.W.2d 375 (Wis.App.,1993)

This appeal is by the Dog Federation of Wisconsin and others who contest a City of South Milwaukee ordinance that imposes restrictions on the ownership and keeping of “pit bulls.” The Federation claims that the “pit bull” aspects of the ordinance are facially invalid because:  the definition of “pit bull” is impermissibly vague; the ordinance is overbroad; and the ordinance violates their right to equal protection. The court found that reference to recognized breeds provides sufficient specifics to withstand a vagueness challenge. With regard to equal protection, the court held that the ordinance is founded on “substantial distinctions” between the breeds of dog covered by the ordinance and other breeds of dog. Moreover, the ordinance is “germane” to the underlying purpose of the ordinance to protect persons and animals from dangerous dogs. Finally, the ordinance applies equally to the affected class of persons owning or keeping pit bulls.

Donald HENDRICK and Concerned Citizens for True Horse Protection, Plaintiffs v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (“USDA”), and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“Aphis”), Defendants. Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2900526 (W.D.Ky.)

This matter is before the Court on the motion of Defendant United States Department of Agriculture's Motion to Dismiss. The Horse Protection Act (HPA) is federal legislation which outlaws the practice of “soring” (harm to the feet or limbs of horses in order to enhance the attractiveness of a light-stepped or high-stepping gait during horse-show performances), which is a particular concern for the breed of Tennessee Walking Horses. Plaintiffs seek to have the Court define “sore” and “scar” beyond the definitions provided in the regulations (specifically the “scar rule”). The court found, however, that any alleged or threatened injury based on the HPA or the Scar Rule has not yet occurred. Mere uncertainty about the HPA and Scar Rule alone does not create an injury in fact.

Doris Day Animal League v. Veneman 315 F.3d 297 (D.C. Cir. 2003) Animal rights group brought action challenging validity of regulation exempting breeders who sell dogs from their residences from licensure under Animal Welfare Act. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, J., held that regulation was invalid, and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeals, Randolph, Circuit Judge, held that regulation was reasonable interpretation of Congressional intent.
Dorman v. Satti 678 F.Supp. 375 (D.Conn.,1988) The federal district court here considered the constitutionality of Connecticut’s Hunter Harassment Act (Conn.Gen.Stat. Section 53a-183a) of 1985. The plaintiff was arrested under the Act after she approached hunters who were hunting waterfowl in public lands adjacent to her property and attempted to verbally dissuade them from hunting. The charge was ultimately dismissed, but plaintiff brought a Section 1983 action to adjudicate the constitutionality of the Act. In finding the Act unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, the Court found that it criminalized constitutionally protected speech. Specifically, the Court found that the Act failed to define “interference” and did not adequately limit the reach of “acts in preparation” to hunt.

Douglas Furbee, et al. v. Gregory L. Wilson, et. al. --- N.E.3d ----, 2020 WL 1503236 (Ind. Ct. App. Mar. 30, 2020) Shelly Linder lived in an apartment complex with a no-pet policy. Linder asked if she could have an emotional-support animal and provided a letter from a licensed family and marriage therapist, which stated that Linder had a disability and required an emotional-support animal to help alleviate her symptoms. The letter did not identify a specific disability and the landlord subsequently requested more information from Linder. Linder did not provide any additional information and instead brought her cat into her apartment as her emotional-support animal. The landlord charged Linder a fine after discovering the cat on the premises and gave her seven days in which to remove the cat. Linder failed to comply which led to Linder’s eviction. The Indiana Civil Rights Commission filed a complaint against the landlord on behalf of Linder in Delaware Circuit Court alleging that the landlord failed to accommodate her request for an emotional-support animal in turn violating the Indiana Fair Housing Act. The trial court denied summary judgment for the landlord and this appeal followed. The landlord conceded that Linder was disabled and requested a reasonable accommodation, however, the landlord argued that it was not given enough information from which to “meaningfully” review Linder’s request. The Delaware Court of Appeals agreed that the Landlord did not have sufficient information to meaningfully review Linder’s request and because Linder did not inform the Landlord about her disability and her need for the cat, she was acting in bad faith. The Court ultimately reversed and remanded the case to the trial court.
Downey v. Pierce County 267 P.3d 445 (Wash.App. Div. 2, 2011)

Dog owner sued county challenging county's dangerous animal declaration (DAD) proceedings.  The Court of Appeals held that charging a fee to obtain an initial evidentiary review of a DAD violated owner's due process rights because it impacted owner's property and financial interests and potentially subjected her to future criminal sanctions. The court also held that the lack of an adequate evidentiary standard regarding review of DADs violated due process because the ordinance required only that the reviewing auditor determine if there was sufficient evidence to support the DAD.

Downing v. Gully, P.C. 915 S.W.2d 181 (Tex. App. 1996)

Appellant dog owners challenged the decision of the County Court at Law No. 2 of Tarrant County (Texas), which granted summary judgment in favor of appellee veterinary clinic in appellants' negligence, misrepresentation, and Deceptive Trade Practices Act claims. The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee veterinary clinic because appellee's veterinarians provided affidavits that were sufficiently factually specific, describing experience, qualifications, and a detailed account of the treatment, so that appellee negated the element of the breach of the standard of care, and because Deceptive Trade Practice Act claims did not apply to state licensed veterinarians.

DOYLE v DEPUTY SHERIFF'S 758 N.Y.S.2d 791 (N.Y.Sup. 2003)

In this New York case, a minor child was injured when he was kicked by defendant's horse while defendant was in the process of the setting up a petting zoo at a picnic. The court was posed with the question of whether limited circumstances exist to support a negligence claim where a person is injured by a domestic animal and there is no proof of the animal's vicious propensities (the pony in this case never kicked anyone or showed any vicious propensities). The court answered the question in the affirmative. Here, defendant is subject to the enhanced duty of horse owners to young children. There were triable issues of fact as to defendant's negligence in the manner in which the horses were unloaded while in the presence of children that precluded summary judgment for defendant.

Drake v. Dean 15 Cal. App. 4th 915 (Cal.App.3.Dist. 1993)

Plaintiff, engaged in religious solicitations, was knocked down by dog owner's pit bull on the defendant's driveway.  She argued that the superior court should have instructed on negligence in addition to strict liability.  The court agreed, finding that a negligence cause of action arises whenever there is insufficient control of a dog in a context in which it could be reasonably expected that injury could occur and injury did proximately result from the negligence.  Thus, the court reversed the decision for defendant dog owners.

Dreyer v. Cyriacks 112 Cal.App. 279 (1931) Plaintiffs brought action against Defendant for damages after Defendant shot and killed Plaintiffs’ dog.   The Trial Court set aside a jury verdict granting Plaintiffs $100,000 in actual and $25,000 in punitive damages, on the ground that the verdict was excessive.   On appeal, the District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, affirmed the Trial Court decision, finding that the Trial Court was justified in holding that both the actual and punitive damages awards were grossly excessive, given the circumstances under which the incident occurred.   In making its decision, the Court of Appeal pointed out that, although this particular dog had been in the motion picture industry, dogs are nonetheless considered property, and as such, are to be ascertained in the same manner as other property, and not in the same manner as human life.

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