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Bedford v. Jorden


This action was brought by Dale C. Bedford, appellant, on an amended complaint on two counts seeking special damages in the amount of $750, unspecified general damages, and $50,000 in punitive damages against E.E. Jorden, a Billings, Montana veterinarian and his partnership. The first count of complaint alleges that the defendant, Dr. Jorden, willfully or by gross negligence broke, or allowed to be broken a wing of a parrot belonging to the appellant, Bedford. The second count alleges that Dr. Jorden and his business willfully, wantonly or maliciously failed to provide adequate care for the parrot. The court found that the interrogatories and depositions of all witnesses, including the appellant, indicate that there was no evidence produced that would establish a prima facie case of negligence, let alone intentional cruelty or inhumanity to animals.

Beckwith v. Weber


While on vacation at a ranch in Wyoming, plaintiff was thrown or fell from a horse that stepped in a large badger hole. Allegedly, the trail guide left the plaintiff and her husband at the scene in order to get help. Worried about potential wildlife attacks, the plaintiff and her husband walked to a nearby residence for assistance. The plaintiff later brought a negligence suit against the ranch for injuries she had sustained during the fall. At trial, the jury verdict stated the plaintiff had assumed the risk and the plaintiff was therefore not entitled to damages. On appeal, the plaintiff challenged a jury instruction and asserted the trial court abused its discretion when it awarded costs to the ranch. The plaintiff did not prevail on either claim.

Beckett v. Warren


On a certified conflict from the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Ohio decided here whether a plaintiff pursuing a claim for bodily injuries caused by a dog must elect either a statutory remedy under R.C. 955.28 or a remedy at common law for negligence. The Supreme Court found that the defense's conflict case, Rodenberger v. Wadsworth, 1983 WL 7005, did not turn on the issue of whether both claims could be pursued simultaneously, but rather whether the statutory cause of action abrogated the common law cause of action (which it held did not). In looking at the plain language of R.C. 955.28, the Court found that the statute itself does not preclude a simultaneous common law action for damages for bodily injuries caused by a dog. Under both theories of recovery, compensatory damages remain the same so there is no issue of double recovery. Thus, a plaintiff may, in the same case, pursue a claim for a dog bite injury under both R.C. 955.28 and common law negligence.

Becker v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.


Motorist sued dog owner after he was injured in a car accident allegedly caused by dog. The Court of Appeals held that the “injury by dog” statute creates strict liability for any injury or damage caused by dog if owner was negligent (with public policy exceptions). Here, the dog owner was not strictly liable because he was not negligent when his dog escaped from its enclosure.

Becker v. Elfreich Appellant, Officer Zachary Elfreich, went to the home of Appellee Jamie Becker in order to execute an arrest warrant. When Becker did not surrender right away, Officer Elfreich allowed his police dog to find and attack Becker. Upon seeing Becker, Officer Elfreich pulled him down three steps of the home staircase, and placed his knee on Becker’s back while allowing the dog to continue to bite him. Becker sued the city of Evansville and Officer Elfreich under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officer used excessive force in arresting him in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The district court denied Officer Elfreich's motion for summary judgment and the officer appealed. The Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, held that: first, under the totality of the circumstances, the force used by the officer post-surrender of Becker was not reasonable. Second, a police dog's use of the “bite and hold” technique is not per se deadly force. Third, Becker, was a nonresisting (or at most passively resisting) suspect when Officer Elfreich saw him near the bottom of the staircase and the officer should not have used significant force on him. Based on these factors, the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity and a reasonable jury could find such force was excessive. The lower court decision to deny Officer Elfreich's motion for summary judgment was affirmed.
Beck v. Cornell University


Plaintiff was a temporary employee in the dairy barns at defendant's Animal Science Teaching and Research Center, where a population of feral cats had been living.  The Center had previously cared for the cats, but adopted a new policy to reduce the population for health and safety reasons.  Despite the Center's directions not to feed the cats, the plaintiff continued to feed the cats with his own cat food and was fired.  Plaintiff brought a suit for negligence and prima facie tort, which Supreme Court dismissed for failure to state a cause of action and the appellate court affirmed. 

Beard v. State


Defendants were convicted of hunting with an unplugged pump shotgun and obstructing a law enforcement officer in the discharge of his official duties. The Court of Appeals held that the evidence was sufficient to support convictions, the admission of evidence of defendants' prior run-ins with the law was not error, and the judge's instruction that admissions should be scanned with care, if jury found defendant had made an admission, was a correct statement of law and not, as contended, an expression of the judge's opinion.

Baughman v. City of Elkhart, TX Plaintiff Tammy Baughman filed a complaint on May 31, 2017 seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of her Fourteenth amendment rights; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging that she was discriminated against; the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), alleging a failure to make reasonable accommodations; and 42 U.S.C. § 3613. Plaintiff asserts that she is disabled due to a failed back surgery. She also has fibromyalgia, depression, and other health issues. Plaintiff has a seven pound ring tail lemur that she claims is an emotional support animal that improves her quality of life. Plaintiff's lemur bit a mail carrier on December 5, 2012 which left lacerations on the carrier's hand and wrist. Plaintiff then moved to Elkhart, Texas in December 2014 where her lemur bit another person on June 25, 2015. In both instances the lemur was quarantined for 30 days and then returned to Plaintiff. The City of Elkhart enacted an ordinance on October 5, 2015 that bans all non-human primates from the city. Plaintiff claims she requested an accommodation form the City to keep her lemur as an emotional support animal, but her request was denied. The defendants, which include the mayor and city council members, claim the plaintiff never requested an accommodation. Plaintiff further alleges that the defendants "showed deliberate indifference in refusing to give [her] a hearing and defend her lemur,' which violates the FHAA and ADA. On February 15, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment seeking a dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims. Defendants claim that Plaintiff's lemur was involved in two documented attacks in Houston County, Texas and a third in Elkhart. Defendants assert that Plaintiff runs a retail resale shop out of her home and that in the third attack on June 25, 2015, the lemur jumped on a customer in plaintiff's store. Defendants assert that the ordinance was enacted as a legitimate exercise of the City's legislative power and police power. The District court concluded that the defendants are entitled to absolute judicial immunity for their conduct because the act of voting in favor of an ordinance is an undeniable legislative action. As for Plaintiff's 1983 claim, the District Court concluded that she had not shown a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether her due process rights were violated nor does she have a basis for a procedural due process claim. The ordinance is rationally related to the City's legitimate interest in the safety and welfare of its citizens. The ordinance does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As for Plaintiff's ADA claim, the District Court concluded that the Plaintiff had not shown that the reasonable accommodation that she requested - an exemption from the animal control ordinance - did not place an undue burden on the City of Elkhart. No facts were provided by the Plaintiff that would show that her interest in keeping her lemur outweighs the interest of the City in protecting its citizens. As for Plaintiff's ADA claim, in order to succeed on an ADA claim, there must be some evidence that set the animal apart from an ordinary pet. The Plaintiff failed to show any evidence that her lemur is specifically trained to perform tasks that help her in her daily life. The District Court held that the Defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted and the Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
Baugh v. Beatty


This California case is a personal injury action by Dennis Ray Baugh, a minor, by John R. Baugh, his guardian ad litem, against Clyde Beatty and others, resulting from injuries suffered by the 4-year old child after he was  bitten by a chimpanzee in a circus animal tent. The court found that the instructions given were prejudicial where the jurors were told that the patron could not recover if the patron's conduct caused injury or if the conduct of the father in charge of patron caused injury; instead, the sole question for jury should have been whether patron knowingly and voluntarily invited injury because the animal was of the class of animals

ferae naturae,

of known savage and vicious nature.

Batra v. Clark


In this Texas case, the appellant-landlord appealed a verdict that found him negligent for injuries suffered by a child visiting a tenant's residence. The lower court found the tenant and landlord each 50% liable for the girl's injuries. The Court of Appeals, in an issue of first impression, if a landlord has actual knowledge of an animal's dangerous propensities and presence on the leased property, and has the ability to control the premises, he or she owes a duty of ordinary care to third parties who are injured by this animal. In the present facts, the court found that Bantra had no duty of care because there was no evidence showing that Batra either saw the dog and knew that it was a potentially vicious animal or identified the dog's bark as the bark of a potentially vicious animal. The judgment was reversed.

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