California

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Johnson v. McMahan


After a repairman was injured by a dog that grabbed his leg through his jeans and made him fall from a ladder, the victim sued the owners under the dog bite statute, Civ. Code, § 3342. The court held that the statute applied, even though the plaintiff was not wounded by the bite. The word “bite” did not require a puncture or tearing away of the skin.

James S. Cable, Plaintiff v. Burrows, Defendant


This California judgment awarded no money to plaintiff on his claims.

Humane Society of United States v. State Board of Equalization


Humane society and four state taxpayers brought action attacking government waste, requesting injunctive and declaratory relief that would bar implementation of tax exemptions for farm equipment and machinery as they applied to “battery cage” chicken coops that allegedly violated animal cruelty laws. State Board of Equalization demurred. Superior Court sustained without leave to amend the complaint and dismissed the case, which the Court of Appeal affirmed, stating that the plaintiffs did not allege a valid cause of action attacking government waste.

Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors The plaintiff in this case applied for a conditional use permit (CUP) to keep up to five tigers on her property, but the county planning commission and board of supervisors denied her application. In her application, plaintiff indicates that the project would include three tiger enclosures, a 13,500-square-foot arena with a roof over 14 feet in height at its highest point, with the area surrounded by an eight-foot-high chain link fence encompassing over seven acres. The captive tigers would be used in the entertainment industry: movie sets, television commercials, and still photography. In denying the application, the Board found that the plaintiff failed to prove two elements necessary for a CUP: the project is compatible with the planned uses in the general area, and the project is not detrimental to the public interest, health, safety or welfare. The court noted that plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating her entitlement to the permit. In fact, the court noted that while plaintiff claims "an unblemished safety record," she submitted videos showing tigers "roaming freely in the backyard of her Beverly Hills home" and tigers posing with plaintiff and her sister on the beach. The court observed that, "[h]er well-intentioned desire to own [the tigers] does not trump her neighbors' right to safety and peace of mind." The judgment of the lower court was affirmed.
HAGEN v. LAURSEN


Two Irish setters knocked down a neighbor while playing outside.

 

Previously no one had seen them run into anyone while playing.

 

They were not shown to have been more boisterous than dogs usually are.

 

There was no evidence that these dogs were vicious. The court found that there was no foreseeable risk of harm and therefore no duty upon which to base a claim of negligence.

Frye v. County of Butte


After several administrative, trial court, and appeals hearings, the California court of appeals upheld a county’s decision to seize the plaintiffs’ horses for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 597.1(f).  Notably, the appeals court failed to extend the law of the case, which generally provides that a prior appellate court ruling on the law governs further proceedings in the case, to prior trial court rulings. The appeals court also held that the trial court’s "Statement of Decision" resolved all issues set before it, despite certain remedies remaining unresolved and the court’s oversight of the plaintiffs' constitutionality complaint, and was therefore an appealable judgment. The appeals court also found the trial court lacked jurisdiction to extend the appeals deadline with its document titled "Judgment."

Friedman v. Souther California Permanente Medical Group


Amicus Curae brief arguing for veganism to be viewed as a religion in wrongful termination case.

Farm Sanctuary, Inc. v. Department of Food & Agriculture


Environmental group brought suit challenging regulation allowing ritual slaughter exception to statute requiring that animals be treated humanely. The Superior Courtupheld regulation and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeal, Masterson, J., held that: (1) group had standing to sue, and (2) regulation was valid.

Eriksson v. Nunnink In this case a deceased horse rider's parents (Erikssons) have brought wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress actions against the rider's coach after she fell from her horse in competition and died. Due to a release form signed by the parents, the coach (Nunnink) could only be held liable if he was found grossly negligent. The parents attempted to show that the coach was grossly negligent in allowing the rider to compete after injuries sustained by the horse. This court concluded that the Erikssons failed to establish that Nunnink was grossly negligent. The court affirmed the judgment.
ERIC SANDLE, plaintiff v. JEFRI DAVIS, and DOES 1-20 inclusive, defendant This complaint arose from the intentional shooting of plaintiff's dog by defendant. Plaintiff was on his property pruning a tree when defendant shot plaintiff's dog, who was in the street at the time approximately three feet away from defendant. As a result of the shooting, plaintiff's dog is paralyzed in the back half of his body and suffers from bladder and bowel difficulties. Three causes of action were raised in the complaint: (1) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (2) conversion; and (3) violation of California Civil Code of Procedure Section 3340 (relating to damage to animals).

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