Florida

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Knowles Animal Hospital, Inc. v. Wills


Dog owners brought negligence action against veterinarian and animal hospital after their dog suffered injuries while under the veterinarian's and the hospital's care. The Appeals Court held that the trial court did not err by allowing the jury to consider plaintiff-owners' mental pain and suffering, and that the jury could reasonably have viewed defendants' neglectful conduct resulting in the dog's injury to have amounted to great indifference to plaintiffs' property.

LaPorte v. Associated Independents, Inc.


Respondent was a corporation engaged in the garbage collection business.  One of its employees maliciously hurled an empty garbage can at plaintiff's pet pedigreed dog, who was tethered at the time, killing it.  The issue before the court was the reconsideration not of  the issue of liability, but for determination only of compensatory and punitive damages.  The court stated that it was obvious from the facts that the act performed by the representative of the respondent was malicious and demonstrated an extreme indifference to the rights of the petitioner. Having this view, there was no prohibition of punitive damages relative to awarding compensation for mental pain, as would be the case if there had been physical injury resulting only from simple negligence.  The court went on to say that the restriction of the loss of a pet to its intrinsic value in circumstances such as the ones before us is a principle we cannot accept and that the malicious destruction of the pet provides an element of damage for which the owner should recover, irrespective of the value of the animal because of its special training.

Larry Ciaccio, Appellant v. City of Port St. Lucie Animal Control Department, Appellee


The following documents concern the appellant's request to release his dog from the Port St. Lucie, Florida Humane Society. At the time of the petition, the dog was kept in a "quarantine" area of the shelter and had not been let out of his cage for exercise or socialization since he was seized 8 months prior. Appellant asks the court to either let him securely confine the dog at his home or board him at the Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary until the dangerous dog determination is resolved.

Leigh v. State Philip Leigh (Defendant) appeals from an order summarily denying his motion for postconviction relief. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic. Defendant claimed his trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to appear in a leg restraint and for failing to object to the presence of a dog. Apparently, the dog became disruptive on more than one occasion and was visible to the judge and jury. The Florida appellate court reversed and remanded, with a provision that the trial court could attach portions of the record that would refute the possibility that defense counsel’s failure to object to the dog’s presence indicated ineffective assistance of counsel. Since there was apparently no evidence of the dog’s presence in the record at all, the trial court was presumably obligated to conduct an evidentiary hearing on the matter.
Levine v. Knowles


This negligence action for both compensatory and punitive damages results from the premature cremation of 'Tiki,' a Toy Chihuahua dog, who died while undergoing apparently routine treatment for a skin condition. Plaintiff instructed the veterinarian to keep Tiki's body so that he could have an autopsy performed, but the dog's body was cremated before it could be claimed so that, according to plaintiff, defendant could avoid malpractice claims. 



In this case, the court only determined that under the facts peculiar to this case, an action for damages was sufficiently alleged by the complaint and the defendant has failed to conclusively demonstrate the non-existence of all material issues of fact so as to be entitled to a summary final judgment.

Marino v. University of Florida


The petitioner in this Florida case sought records for 33 non-human primates whose captivity was documented by a USDA report. The University of Florida redacted certain portions of the records to obscure the physical housing location of the primates. The University contends that the information was confidential and exempt under Florida law as part of its "Security Plan." On appeal, this court first noted that under the Florida Public Records Act, all public documents are subject to public disclosure unless specifically legislatively exempted without considering public policy questions. The court reversed and remanded the case with instructions to release the records without redaction.

McGraw v. R and R Investments, Ltd.


Plaintiff was injured when she was thrown from defendant's horse.  The Circuit Court granted summary judgment for defendant and plaintiff appealed.  The District Court of Appeals held that, as a matter of first impression, the defendant's failure to provide the statutorily required notice warning of its non-liability for injuries resulting from an inherent risks of equine activities disqualified the defendant from statutory immunity from civil liability for the injuries.  Reversed and remanded.

Minter-Smith v. Florida


Defendant was convicted of unlawfully owning, possessing, keeping or training a dog or dogs with intent that such dog engage in dogfighting and he appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that: (1) statute under which appellant was convicted was not unconstitutionally vague; (2) testimony of investigator was sufficient for jury to conclude that defendant was in violation of the statute that was not unconstitutional on ground that it was ex post facto as applied to defendant; (3) evidence as to poor conditions of dogs and their vicious propensities was relevant to issue of defendant's intent to fight the dogs; and (4) evidence gained by police officer pursuant to search warrant was not inadmissible. Affirmed.






Mitchell v. State


The defendant in this case was convicted of animal cruelty for injuries his dog sustained after his dog bit him. Upon appeal, the court found that the prosecutor had erred by framing the argument in a manner that improperly shifted the burden of proof from whether the defendant had intentionally and maliciously inflicted injuries on the dog to whether the State's witnesses were lying. Since the court found this shift in burden was not harmless, the court reversed and remanded the defendant's conviction.

Overview of Florida Great Ape Laws This is a short overview of Florida Great Ape law.

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