United States

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Titlesort ascending Summary
Zuniga v. San Mateo Dept. of Health Services (Peninsula Humane Soc.)

In this California case, the owner of a dog that had been seized pending criminal dogfighting charges sought a writ of mandate challenging a county hearing officer's decision finding that puppies born to the dog while she was impounded were dangerous animals. The trial court denied the writ. The Court of Appeal reversed and held that there was insufficient evidence that the puppies were “dangerous animals." The evidence received by the hearing officer relates mainly to appellant's actions and his mistreatment of the parent animal, and the only evidence relevant to the puppies' “inherent nature” was the observed aggressive behavior toward each other while caged together and certain possible assumptions about their nature from the condition and use of their mother.

Zuckerman v. Coastal Camps, Inc.

This case arose after twelve-year old Samantha Zuckerman sustained injuries when she fell the pony she was riding during a horseback riding lesson at Camp Laurel in Mount Vernon, Maine. Samantha alleged that her instructors improperly saddled the pony, which caused her saddle to slip. In appealing the Magistrate's recommended decision, Camp Laurel again claims that it is immune from liability under Maine Equine Activities Act because a slipping saddle is a risk inherent to the sport of horseback riding. Camp Laurel contends that the faulty tack exception is limited to situations where the tack cracks, breaks, or frays and does not include  an “improperly tightened girth” or an “inappropriate pony” or “faulty horse.” This Court agreed with the Magistrate Judge that the record raises a genuine issue of material fact concerning the “faulty” tack exception. The Court found that the negligence here was tied to an exception to the liability shield - faulty tack.

ZooCats, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
This petition followed a final order of the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ordering ZooCats, Inc. to cease and desist from violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), and revoking ZooCats's animal exhibitor license. ZooCats argued on appeal that the Secretary erred in extending certain filing deadlines, erred in determining certain audio tapes were inadmissible evidence, and erred in determining that ZooCats did not qualify as a “research facility” under the AWA. Addressing each of these claims, the 5th Circuit held that the Administrative Law Judge had broad discretion to manage its docket to promote judicial economy, efficiency, and to protect the interests of the parties. The Sixth Circuit further found that even if the tapes were admissible, failure to admit the tapes would be a harmless error because there was substantial evidence in the record supporting the agency's determination that ZooCats wilfully violated the AWA. Finally, the 6th Circuit held ZooCats was not a research facility under the AWA because it had not researched, tested, or experimented in the almost ten years since it registered as a research facility. The 6th Circuit therefore denied Petitioner’s petition.
Zimmerman v. Wolff Plaintiff initiated this action against defendant in his official capacity as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, asking the Court to enjoin defendant from seizing plaintiff's dogs and from preventing him from operating his dog kennel under his federal license. Plaintiff simultaneously filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. The State moved for dismissal due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Since the Animal Welfare Act did not create a private cause of action, the district court dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff’s constitutional claims were also dismissed because the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over constitutional claims brought against state actors directly. Plaintiff’s motions were therefore denied and defendant’s motion was granted. The court went on to address whether it would be appropriate to grant plaintiff leave to amend his complaint to bring the Commerce and Supremacy clause claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and found that it would be futile for both.
Zimmerman v. Robertson

Defendant-veterinarian was contracted to castrate plaintiff’s horse. Post-surgical care resulted in a fatal infection of the horse.  The court found that, indeed, expert testimony is required in malpractice cases, as negligence cannot be inferred from the existence of a loss.  The court disagreed with plaintiff that defendant’s own "admissions" in his testimony at trial provided sufficient evidence of deviation from the standard of care to withstand a directed verdict by defendant.  As to plaintiff’s argument regarding a lack of informed consent, the court noted that a medical malpractice claim premised on a theory of lack of informed consent is a separate cause of action rather than an "element" in an otherwise specifically alleged claim of professional negligence.

Zimmerman v. Robertson

Plaintiff horse owner sought review of a judgment by the District Court of Yellowstone County, Thirteenth Judicial District (Montana), which entered a directed verdict in favor of defendant veterinarian on the owner's claims of professional negligence. On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court's decision, holding that the owner was required to prove the veterinarian's negligence by expert testimony, and that he failed to do so.  In addition, the court The court found that the "defendant's admissions" exception to the expert testimony requirement did not apply because the veterinarian did not admit that he deviated from the standard of care.



Zenier v. Spokane Intern. R. Co

., 78 Idaho 196 (Idaho 1956), a rancher’s mare and colt was killed, and the rancher sought statutory damages and attorney fees. A jury found for the rancher and imposed damages mainly on his testimony as to value. The railroad sought review, stating that the rancher's own negligence in allowing the horses to run barred recovery and there was no objective evidence as to value. The court upheld the award, finding that the animal’s value to the rancher was permitted as a basis for determining damages where personal property has been injured by the willful or negligent act of another.

Zelman v. Cosentino

A repairman was knocked over by a dog while working on a telephone line in the neighbor's yard.  The repairman brought claims against the dog's owner under under theories of strict liability and negligence.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the dog's owner and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Zeid v. Pearce

Richard and Susan Zeid appeal from the trial court's order dismissing their lawsuit against Dr. William Pearce, d/b/a Coronado Animal Clinic, for veterinary malpractice after the dog suffered from allergic reactions resulting from alleged negligent vaccinations.  The court observed that, in Texas, the recovery for the death of a dog is the dog's market value, if any, or some special or pecuniary value to the owner that may be ascertained by reference to the dog's usefulness or services.  Consequently, the court found this longstanding Texas rule to be inconsistent with the Zeids' claim for pain and suffering and mental anguish.  Because the Zeids did not plead for damages for the loss of their dog that are recoverable in Texas, the trial court did not err in sustaining Dr. Pearce's special exception and dismissing their cause of action.

Zalaski v. City of Hartford

When animal rights activists, who were protesting the treatment of animals at a race sponsored by a circus, were arrested for criminal trespass and obstruction of free passage,  the filed a section 1983 lawsuit for false arrest, unlawful retaliation, malicious prosecution, and interference with free expression under both the U.S. and Connecticut constitution against the city and the officer.  Upon appeal of the lower court’s rejection of the activists’ First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims, the court (1) affirmed the lower court’s decision on the ground of qualified immunity under section 1983, (2) would not address whether a pro se attorney who represented plaintiffs in addition to himself may be awarded fees because the issue was not raised in district court, and (3) vacated the judgment only in order to remand the case for the limited purpose of having the district court clarify whether it awarded the activists the costs incurred as a result of a discovery certification violation.