California

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Drinkhouse v. Van Ness


Plaintiffs sued defendants to recover value of a horse that was wrongfully taken from them. The Court held that evidence was admissible to establish the value of the horse at the time of the wrongful taking to fix the damages amount. The peculiar value of the horse as a sire was established by evidence as to the horse’s racing history and to its progeny’s character and racing ability. Owners were entitled to recover damages for the reasonable value of the horse’s use during the period they were wrongfully deprived of it.

Dreyer v. Cyriacks
Plaintiffs brought action against Defendant for damages after Defendant shot and killed Plaintiffs’ dog.

 

The Trial Court set aside a jury verdict granting Plaintiffs $100,000 in actual and $25,000 in punitive damages, on the ground that the verdict was excessive.

 

On appeal, the District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, affirmed the Trial Court decision, finding that the Trial Court was justified in holding that both the actual and punitive damages awards were grossly excessive, given the circumstances under which the incident occurred.

 

In making its decision, the Court of Appeal pointed out that, although this particular dog had been in the motion picture industry, dogs are nonetheless considered property, and as such, are to be ascertained in the same manner as other property, and not in the same manner as human life.
Drake v. Dean


Plaintiff, engaged in religious solicitations, was knocked down by dog owner's pit bull on the defendant's driveway.  She argued that the superior court should have instructed on negligence in addition to strict liability.  The court agreed, finding that a negligence cause of action arises whenever there is insufficient control of a dog in a context in which it could be reasonably expected that injury could occur and injury did proximately result from the negligence.  Thus, the court reversed the decision for defendant dog owners.

Dixon v. City of Woodland
Detailed Discussion of California Great Ape Laws In California, all gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos, and gibbons are classified as “wildlife” that must be restricted by the state for their own health and welfare. According to the legislature, it is necessary to regulate the import, possession, use, and treatment of Great Apes because “many animals die in captivity or transit…some keepers of wild animals lack sufficient knowledge or facilities for the proper care of wild animals … [and] some wild animals are a threat to public health and safety.”The following discussion begins with a general overview of the various state statutes and regulations affecting Great Apes. It then analyzes the applicability of those laws to the possession and use of apes for specific purposes, including their possession as pets, for scientific research, for commercial purposes, and in sanctuaries. The discussion concludes with a compilation of local ordinances which govern the possession and use of apes within geographic subdivisions of the state.
Deanna Wilson, the guardian of her beloved Avain companions v. PETCO Animal Supplies, INC. and DOES 1-10
Davis v. Gaschler


In this California case, plaintiff noticed two women in the process of assisting an injured dog, which was owned by defendants, while driving down the road. Plaintiff, an experienced dog breeder and handler, assisted the women and was bitten by plaintiff's dog. The dog had not been vaccinated for rabies, and plaintiff was required to undergo antirabies treatment. Plaintiff sought appeal of the lower court's granting of summary judgment for the defendant. The Court of Appeal reversed. It held that defendants had the burden to establish that this was a case of primary assumption of the risk-where, by virtue of the nature of the activity and the parties' relationship to the activity, defendants owed no legal duty to plaintiff. The court held that the complaint alleged facts sufficient to impose a duty on the part of defendants, based on allegations that they owned and negligently controlled the dog that bit plaintiff.

Davert v. Larson


On April 6, 1982, plaintiffs sued defendant Thomas Larson and others owned by defendant and others as tenants in common, for damages for negligence after plaintiffs' automobile collided with a horse.  On October 21, 1983, the trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment finding he owed no duty of care to plaintiffs as a landowner because his 1/2500th interest in the property was small and he exercised no control over the management of the property.  The Court of Appeal reversed

, holding that tenants in common of real property who delegate the control and management of the property to a separate legal entity should not be immunized from liability to third parties in the case of common area torts.  The Court found that it was clear that considerations of public policy require that any departure from the common law rule of liability of individual owners of property in common cannot operate to the substantial detriment of third parties. 

Conway v. Pasadena Humane Society



This appeal presents the question of whether animal control officers can lawfully enter a home, absent a warrant or consent, to seize and impound the homeowner's dog for violation of a leash law. The court held that that the Fourth Amendment precludes such conduct, where

entry of home to seize dog was not justified by exigent circumstances.  Further, the statute and municipal ordinance permitting animal control officers to impound dog found on private property did not authorize seizure in violation of Fourth Amendment.


Concerned Dog Owners of California v. City of Los Angeles


Dog owners mounted a constitutional challenge to a Los Angeles municipal ordinance that required all dogs and cats within the city to be sterilized. The Court of Appeal held that the ordinance did not violate the owners’ freedom of association rights, free speech rights. or equal protection rights. The court held that it was not unconstitutionally vague, was not outside of the city's police powers, did not vest unfettered discretion in city officials, did not constitute an unconstitutional prior restraint or an unconstitutional taking. Finally, the law did not violate individual liberties under the California Constitution.

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