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Titlesort ascending Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
Zelenka v. Pratte 912 N.W.2d 723 (Neb. 2018) 300 Neb. 100 (2018) Pratte and Zelenka were in a relationship up until their separation in 2015. Zelenka moved out of the residence that they had shared, however, he was unable to retrieve several items of personal property one of which was a French bulldog named Pavlov. Zelenka filed a complaint against Pratte alleging conversion. Zelenka contended that Pavlov was given to him as a birthday gift from Pratte. The district court ordered Pratte to return Pavlov to Zelenka and the rest of the personal property to remain with Pratte. Pratte appealed and Zelenka cross-appealed. The Supreme Court of Nebraska found that although the parties styled their complaint as one for conversion, the parties tried the action as one for replevin and treated the case in all respects as if replevin had been raised in the pleadings, therefore, the Court treated the action as one in which replevin had been raised in the pleadings. The Court ultimately found the following: Zelenka met his burden of proving that Pavlov was a gift from Pratte; Pratte failed to meet his burden of proving that the Niche leather couch, Niche lamps, and French bulldog lamp were gifts from Zelenka; and that those three items should be returned to Zelenka. As for the other items of personal property, the Court found that there was no basis to set aside the district court’s finding that Zelenka failed to meet his burden of proving ownership. The Court affirmed in part, and reversed and remanded in part. Case
Wolf v. Taylor 197 P.3d 585 (Or. App., 2008) 224 Or. App. 245 (2008) This action comes as part of the dissolution of the parties' domestic partnership. The parties had entered into a settlement agreement, which included a provision granting full ownership of Mike, the couple's dog, to Taylor, so long as he agreed to grant Wolf visitation with Mike. Approximately one month later, Wolf had second thoughts and moved to rescind the entire agreement based on the invalidity of the dog visitation provision. Wolf asserts the provision is invalid because it attempts to grant visitation with an item of personal property, and is impossible to perform. This court only answered the question whether invalidity of the dog visitation provision would invalidate the entire agreement, which they answer in the negative because of the severability provision included in the agreement. Case
Vargas v. Vargas 1999 WL 1244248 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 1, 1999) (unpublished opinion). Court awarded custody of rottweiler to wife, after considering testimony adduced (husband was not treating the dog very nicely) and the state of the husband’s home (scrap metal yard and fact 5-year-old child visits regularly).  This decision was made notwithstanding the fact that dog was gift from wife to husband and the dog was registered to husband with AKC. Case
Travis v. Murray 977 N.Y.S.2d 621 (Sup. Ct. 2013) 2013 N.Y. Slip Op. 23405, 42 Misc. 3d 447, 2013 WL 6246374 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2013)

A short, childless marriage ended in a custody battle over a dachshund after one spouse allegedly took the dog while the other spouse was away on a business trip. After reviewing the progression of the law in New York and in other states, the court decided to apply a “best for all concerned” standard and to give the parties a full, one-day hearing. The plaintiff’s motion to order the defendant to return the couple's dog and to be awarded “sole residential custody” of the dog was therefore granted.

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Sullivan v. Ringland 376 A.2d 130 (N.H. 1977) 117 N.H. 596 (1977) A New Hampshire husband and wife owned their dog jointly when they divorced. The husband planned to take care of the dog while the wife relocated. Instead, he gave the dog away to a friend with a young son. The court held that the wife’s replevin action was not available against the donee of a cotenant. Case
Riley v. Riley 131 So.2d 491 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1961)

Trial court ordered husband and father, in divorce decree, to maintain his life insurance policy naming his children as beneficiaries; he appealed.   Appellate court affirmed, finding no abuse of discretion.  Appellate court upheld original decree, which also vested in the wife title to "some poodle dogs."

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Raymond v. Lachmann 695 N.Y.S.2d 308 (N.Y. App. Div. 1999). 264 A.D.2d 340; 1999 N.Y. Slip Op. 07127

Trial court allowed visitation in property dispute over cat between roommates.  Later, that court determined it was not in the aged cat's best interests to be shuffled back and forth so revoked its decision, awarding it to the non-possessory roommate in a straight property analysis.  The appellate court determined that it would be best for the cat to remain with the possessory party because of his age and the amount of time he had already been living there.

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Pratt v. Pratt 1988 WL 120251 (Minn. Ct. App. Nov. 15, 1998) (unpublished opinion).

A childless, divorcing couple sought divorce; trial court awarded couple's registered dogs to wife based on the best interest standard used for determination of custody of children.  Appellate court held the best interest statute inapplicable to dogs, but stated that the trial court can award dogs based on evidence of mistreatment of the dogs by one of the parties.  Because the trial court's determination had a reasonable basis in fact, the appellate court affirmed its decision.

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Placey v. Placey 51 So.3d 374 (Ala. Civ. App., 2010) 2010 WL 2342397 (Ala. Civ. App.)

The appellate court held that the Protection from Abuse Act authorized the trial court to determine and award ownership of Preston the dog in a domestic violence dispute between a mother and daughter. It then awarded ownership rights to the mother because took better care of the Preston and it was in his best interest.

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People v. Miller 159 A.D.3d 1608 (N.Y. App. Div. 2018) 72 N.Y.S.3d 750, 2018 N.Y. Slip Op. 02109 (N.Y. App. Div. 2018) In this New York case, defendant appeals his conviction for burglary in the second degree, petit larceny, and criminal contempt in the first degree. The incident occurred when defendant went back over to his girlfriend's house after he called her to ask permission to visit the dogs. The complainant declined, saying she had plans for an outing with the dogs that day. Witnesses later observed defendant banging on the complainant's door and subsequently opening a window and climbing in her residence. After forcing entry, defendant took the dogs and complainant called 911. Subsequently, defendant led police on a high speed chase, and, after being arrested, defendant claimed the dogs were licensed to him. The appellate court viewed all the evidence of the elements for each crime and rejected defendant's contention that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Thus, the judgment was affirmed. Notably, two judges dissented on this appeal, finding that defendant "had at least a good faith basis for claiming an ownership interest the dogs." The dissent found the dogs may have been jointly owned and that, prior to his arrest, "defendant simply intended to take the dogs for a walk and then return them." Case

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