United States

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Titlesort ascending Summary
Benningfield v. Zinsmeister


An 8-year-old boy and his sister were walking down a street when they were approached by a Rottweiler. Scared, the boy ran and was attacked by the dog, which caused the boy to suffer serious injuries. As a result, the mother of the child sued the owner of the dog and the landlord of the house where the dog resided under a Kentucky dog bite statute. The landlord won at both the trial and the appellate court level. Upon granting discretionary review for the case, the Kentucky Supreme Court investigated whether or not a landlord could be held strictly liable under the dog bite statute. The Court ruled that a landlord could, but only if the landlord permitted the dog to stay on or about the premises. Since the attack did not occur on or about the premises, the landlord was not found liable under the dog bite statute.

Bennett v. Bennett


In this Florida case, the husband, Ronald Bennett, appealed a final judgment of dissolution of marriage awarding custody of the parties' dog. Specifically, the husband challenged the trial court's awarding the former wife visitation with the dog. The appellate court held that the trial court lacked the authority to order visitation with personal property (in this case, a dog). The court recognized that the lower court was trying to reach a fair solution, but the order was reversed and remanded remanded so that the trial court could award the animal pursuant to the dictates of the equitable distribution statute.

Bell v. State


Defendant convicted of cruelty to animals by knowingly and intentionally torturing a puppy by amputating its ears without anesthetic or antibiotics. Defense that "veterinarians charge too much" was ineffective.

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.

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