California

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Titlesort descending Summary
Phillips v. San Luis Obispo County Dept.


In this case, the owners of dog petitioned for writ of mandamus requesting vacation of destruction order and declaration that ordinances under which the dog was seized were unconstitutional.  The Court of Appeal held that due process required that owners have hearing prior to seizure of or destruction of dog (a property interest) and that a "courtesy hearing" did not satisfy due process requirements.  Further, the court concluded that the ordinances here were unconstitutional for failing to provide for notice and a hearing either before or after the seizure of an uncontrollable biting or vicious dog. 

Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine v. Tyson Foods, Inc.


In this California case, PCRM, a nonprofit health-advocacy organization, filed suit for injunctive relief against Tyson alleging that the company made false and deceptive representations about chicken products that it sold to consumers in California. The complaint alleges that Tyson engaged in two advertising campaigns, which disseminated false and deceptive statements about its products in violation of Business and Professions Code section 17500. Tyson filed a motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) statute. On appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the amendment to the anti-SLAPP statute, which was enacted while the appeal was pending did not apply to actions against sellers of goods as to the representations about or promotions of those goods. Further,

by holding that Tyson was not entitled to invoke the anti-SLAPP remedy, the court stated that it did not compromise or prejudice Tyson’s right to raise First Amendment issues in defense of PCRM's suit

.

Plotnik v. Meihaus


A long history of bad neighborly relations resulted in the plaintiffs' dog sustaining injuries from being hit with a baseball; the injuries required surgery and post-operative care. While the plaintiffs brought many causes of actions against their neighbors, a father and his two sons, this case is significant in the realm of animal law because it held that a pet owner may recover for emotional distress under the trespass to personal property cause of action. The court, however, would not allow the plaintiffs to recover for their dog's injuries under the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action because they would have recovered duplicative damages for the same transactional event.

Portillo v. Aiassa


In this California case, the plaintiff delivered beer to Race Street Liquors.

 

As he was leaving the store, he was attacked by a German shepherd

 

owned by the tenant.

 

The jury found appellant-landlord did not have actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities prior to renewing the

commercial

lease.

 

However, the jury found that he would have learned of the dog's dangerous propensities if he had exercised reasonable care in the inspection of his property and that he was negligent in failing to eliminate this dangerous condition. 

Prays v. Perryman


In an action by a commercial pet groomer against a dog owner for injuries suffered by a dog bite, the trial court found as a matter of law that plaintiff had assumed the risk of a dog bite, and on that basis granted summary judgment in defendant's favor. At the time plaintiff was bitten, she had not yet begun to groom the dog and, in fact, had expressed to defendant her concern whether it was safe for her to do so since the dog was excited and growling. The Court of Appeal reversed. Assuming the veterinarian's rule extended to pet groomers, making the defense of assumption of risk available, it held that plaintiff had not as a matter of law assumed the risk of being bitten since, at the time of the bite, the dog was still under the exclusive control of defendant, who had uncaged it and was holding it on a leash.

Priebe v. Nelson


A kennel worker who was bitten by a dog while the dog was in the care of the kennel sued the owner of the dog under a theory of strict liability under a statute and under the common law. The court found that the dog owner was not liable to the kennel worker because under the "veterinarian's rule," the kennel owner had assumed the risk of being bitten by the dog.

Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Jewell In this case, various environmental groups filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of the Interior, arguing that the BLM should not have granted right-of-way on federal lands to a proposed energy project because the project would violate the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The plaintiffs also argued that the BLM’s environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project was not sufficient according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Ultimately, the court held in favor of the defendants and found that the EIS was sufficient under the NEPA and that by granting the right-of-way, BLM was not violation the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The court found that the EIS was sufficient under the NEPA because it included all the necessary information and was broad enough as to not force the BLM into automatically accepting the proposal. Additionally, the court held that the BLM was not in violation of the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act because the BLM was acting in a “purely regulatory capacity” and the BLM’s action could directly or proximately cause a violation under the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Richard B. Rappaport v. Max E. McElroy, D.V.M., Sherwood Veterinary Clinic, Inc. and Does 1 through 30, Inclusive


In this California case, plaintiff sued a veterinarian for giving his exotic pet (a Serval cat), a flea treatment known to be toxic to cats. The veterinary malpractice action focused on defendant’s negligence in failing to exercise a reasonable level of knowledge and skill ordinarily possessed by others practicing veterinary medicine. In fact, plaintiff contended that it is well known in the field and indicated by the manufacturer of Spotton, that the drug should not be used on felines. Plaintiff prayed for damages in the amount of $25,000, which included lost wages, the commercial value of the cat, and loss of companionship, among other things.

Roos v. Loeser


This is an action for damages alleged to have been sustained by plaintiff by reason of the killing of her dog, of the variety known as Pomeranian, by an Airedale belonging to the defendant. In 1919, a California court determined damages to be limited to the veterinary expenses connected with the injury to the animal. In the opinion, the court lovingly discusses the value of the animal. Notwithstanding these words of praise for the small animal, the court decided that the value was limited to the fair market value and related expenses.

Salinas v. Martin


Construction worker brought negligence action against homeowner for injuries sustained by another contractor's pit-bull dog, after homeowner had given the contractor permission to allow the dog to run loose on homeowner's property. The Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, held that a landlord does not generally owe a duty to protect third parties from injuries by his or her tenant's dangerous dog without actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities and ability to prevent or control the harm. However, a homeowner, who maintains possession of and control over the premises, and thus is not acting as a landlord, is not required to have actual knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities to owe a duty of care to his or her invitees.

 

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