Connecticut

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Titlesort descending Summary
Allen v. Cox


The plaintiff (Allen) brought this action against the defendants (Jessica Cox and Daniel Cox) alleging that she was injured by the defendants' cat after the defendants negligently allowed the cat to roam free. The trial court rendered summary judgment for the defendants. Relying mainly on the Restatement (Second), this court held that when a cat has a propensity to attack other cats, knowledge of that propensity may render the owner liable for injuries to people that foreseeably result from such behavior. 

Altieri v. Nanavati


This is an action against a veterinarian for negligence, claiming that the defendant performed unwanted sterilization surgery on the plaintiff's dog, a Lhasa Apso.  The court held that there is also a question of fact regarding whether performing an unwanted operation on the dog is, under the circumstances, actionable as reckless conduct.  However, the court observed that, at the time of the trial it is unlikely that the plaintiffs will be able to recover, as an element of damages, any alleged emotional distress they may have experienced as a result of the surgery on their dog.

Animal Rights Front, Inc. v. Jacques


An environmental nonprofit organization sought an injunction to prevent a housing development from being constructed.  The nonprofit organization claimed the development was in violation of the Connecticut Endangered Species Act because it would destroy the habitat of an endangered rattlesnake.  The trial court held the development was lawful and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Animal Rights Front, Inc. v. Planning & Zoning Com'n of Town of Glastonbury


The plaintiff, Animal Rights Front, Inc., an environmental intervenor, appeals from a final decision of the defendant that gave subdivision and special permit approval to an application by defendant Rejean Jacques d/b/a Rejean Realty, Inc.  The basic issue of the plaintiff's appeal relates to preservation of the Eastern Timber Rattlesnake, an endangered species common to the Diamond Lake section of Glastonbury, and its migration across the development project, which would inherently lead to mortality.  On appeal, defendants questioned plaintiff's standing because they contended that rattlesnakes do not fall under the category of "natural resources."  Relying on a companion case, the court noted that endangered species are inherently deemed natural resources.  However in dismissing plaintiff's appeal, the court found that the defendant made changes that provided for the protection of the rattlesnake and the commission reasonably relied upon these assertions by the defendant to support its conclusions so it was not required to consider alternatives to the proposed development.

Auster v. Norwalk


Plaintiff, while on church premises, was bitten by a church employee's dog.  Plaintiff seeks damages from church under the state dog bite statute, which imposes strict liability for damages on the dog's keeper.  The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church, reasoning that a non-owner must be responsible for maintaining and controlling the dog at the time the damage is done in order to be held liable under the statute.

Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church


The plaintiff, Virginia Auster, brought this action pursuant to General Statutes § 22-357FN1 to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the dog of an employee of the defendant, Norwalk United Methodist Church.  Ms. Auster was a visitor who was on the premises to attend a meeting in the parish house when she was bitten by dog of church employee, who lived in an apartment in the parish house. 

After a jury trial, the verdict was returned in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed.  (See summary judgment appeal, 2004 WL 423189).  The Appellate Court held that church was not a “keeper” of the church employee's dog for purposes of statute which imposed strict liability on the keeper of any dog that did damage to the body or property of any person.  The court reversed the judgment and remanded the action for a new trial on the issue of common-law negligence

Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church (Unpublished)


In this unpublished Connecticut opinion, the defendant-church owned property and leased a portion of the premises to one of its employees, Pedro Salinas.  The plaintiff was attacked by a dog, owned by Salinas, while lawfully on the defendant's premises.  The plaintiff appealed a summary judgment ruling in favor of defendant.  On appeal, the court found that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant-church was a "harborer" of the dog under Connecticut law.  Because Salinas and the church had no formal lease agreement, dispute existed as to the exact parameters of Salinas' exclusive control of the premises where his dog roamed.  There also existed a material fact regarding the church's knowledge of the dog's vicious propensities because it had twice previously attacked a person. (Note the jury trial decision in favor of plaintiff was later overturned in

Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church

, --- A.2d ----, 94 Conn.App. 617, 2006 WL 797892 (Conn.App.)).

Brockett v. Abbe


Defendant-farmer filed a counterclaim for damages for the erroneous determination by the veterinarian that certain cow was not pregnant (plaintiff veterinarian used a "punch test" - where a fist is struck against the abdomen of a cow to determine pregnancy rather than the industry-standard rectal examination). As a result, defendant-farmer sold the cow for $170 versus the $550 he could have received for a pregnant cow.  The Court found that it was erroneous for the circuit court to apply the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, as diagnoses and scientific treatment are improper subjects for the doctrine. The mere proof that the diagnosis later on turned out to be erroneous is insufficient to support a judgment, the court stated.

BROWN v. TOWN OF SOUTHBURY


This Connecticut decision in 1885 held consequential losses as a result of the harm to an animal (a horse) to be a proper element of damages in addition to the fair market value of the animal. Specifically, the court applied fair market value, but disallowed consequential damages for lost profits where plaintiff failed to show an effort to mitigate such damages.

Carrasquillo v. Carlson


A Connecticut motorist brought a negligence action against a dog owner, seeking to recover for personal injuries allegedly sustained when he took evasive action to avoid hitting dog.  The Superior Court, Judicial District of Waterbury, granted the dog owner's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Appellate Court held that the record was adequate for appellate review; the dog owner exercised reasonable control while walking dog; the statute allowing imposition of fine or imprisonment or both on owner of dog that interferes with motor vehicle did not apply; and the dog owner demonstrated that motorist would be unable to cure legal defects in complaint even if permitted to replead.

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