Minnesota

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Anderson v. Christopherson


This appeal asks two questions: whether defendant-dog owners (Christophersons) were strictly liable under Minn.Stat. § 347.22 for plaintiff Anderson's injuries suffered when he attempted to break up a fight between defendants' and plaintiff's dogs; and (2) whether one of the defendants was an "owner" for purposes of this law. In the case at hand, the court found that the events leading to Anderson's injury could produce three reasonable alternative inferences such that summary judgment was inappropriate. The court found there was an issue whether the father Dennis Christopherson was "harboring" the dog at the home for purposes of the animal owner liability statute.

Anderson v. State Department of Natural Resources


A paper manufacturing company sprayed pesticides on their tree grove, but accidentally over sprayed killing some of plaintiff's commercial bees.  The commercial beekeeper sued the paper manufacturing company and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the paper company.  The Supreme Court of Minnesota ultimately reversed the grants of summary judgment on the commercial beekeeper's negligence claims and affirmed dismissal of the nuisance claims. 

Balen v. Peltier (NOTICE: THIS OPINION IS DESIGNATED AS UNPUBLISHED AND MAY NOT BE CITED EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY MINN. ST. SEC. 480A.08(3).


Plaintiff sued defendant for injuries she received after being thrown from defendant’s horse. Specifically, plaintiff argued that defendant knew or should have known of the horse’s “hazardous propensities” and therefore had a duty to protect plaintiff. In finding that there existed no special relationship between the parties to impart a duty to defendant, defendant’s motion for summary judgment was affirmed.

Detailed Discussion of Minnesota Great Ape Laws The following article discusses Great Apes law in Minnesota. While there is no direct law governing who may own a great ape in Minnesota, there are, however, laws in various parts of the Minnesota code that have some limited application to great apes. On the upside, the state's anti-cruelty law applies to all animals, and there is a law specifically protecting companion animals which applies to apes kept for that purpose. On the other hand, the structure of the state's endangered species law - that it neither references apes nor the federal endangered list - makes it a particularly lacklustre protection. Moreover, the state's affirmative decision to address the ownership and possession of Great Apes as a "regulated" animal, along with a number of exceptions and exemptions to the general ban against possessing such animals, is a window into how the state views these animals.
Engquist v. Loyas


After a 9-year old child was bitten by defendant's dog while at a sleepover at defendant's house, the child's mother sued the dog’s owners on child's behalf. The jury found that the plaintiff provoked the dog and the court entered a judgment in favor of defendants. The appellate court reversed on the ground that the jury instruction given by the district court misstated the meaning of provocation under the statute, and remanded for a new trial. In the instant action, the Supreme Court affirms this decision. Specifically, the jury here could have found provocation without any consideration of the victim's knowledge of the danger, and this misstatement prejudiced the defendant.

Gurtek v. Chisago County


Appellants sought review of a denial of a special-use permit to build a large campground adjacent to a bald eagle nesting site.  They contended that the denial by the county board was arbitrary and capricious.  The court held that the denial was reasonable where the county proffered two legally valid reasons for denying the permit:  the danger to the sensitive nesting eagle population and the detrimental effect the increased human activity would have on the unspoiled nature of the property.

Hannan v. City of Minneapolis


This case held that a state statute permitting the control and ultimate destruction of dangerous animals does not preclude municipal controls that add to the breadth of public powers without regulating conditions expressly prohibited by statute.  In the case, a dog owner sought review of municipal animal control division's order for destruction of his dog.  The Court of Appeals held that the ordinance providing for destruction of dangerous dog did not conflict with statute and thus was not preempted by statute.  The court stated that, after comparing the ordinance with the state statute, it was evident that the local provision is merely additional and complementary to the statute, permitting local action that the state statute does not prohibit.  In fact,

state law expressly provides for local regulation, giving municipalities full authority to regulate "potentially dangerous dogs," as long as the regulations are not breed-specific.

Hohenstein v. Dodds
This is an action against a licensed veterinarian to recover damages for his alleged negligence in the diagnosis and treatment of plaintiff's pigs.  Plaintiff alleged defendant-veterinarian negligently vaccinated his purebred pigs for cholera.  The court held that a


n expert witness's opinion based on conflicting evidence which he is called upon to weigh is inadmissible.  Further, a


n expert witness may not include the opinion of another expert witness as basis for his own opinion.


 
Holt v. City of Sauk Rapids Sauk Rapids, Minnesota passed a city ordinance limiting the number of dogs that could be kept in a residential home. The appellants were dog owners, breeders, and Ms. Holt, who also rescued Newfoundland dogs help find new homes for them. The lower court held that the ordinances were unconstitutional, but the city appealed and on appeal the court reversed the finding. Minnesota law granted the municipality the authority to regulate public and private property, including regulating the keeping of dogs on residential property. City Hall received many complaints concerning dogs, so the Sauk Rapids ordinance was introduced by the mayor to address issues with dog odor and noise. Because limiting the number of dogs can reduce odor and noise, the court found that there was a rational relationship between the ordinance and reducing the problems associated with the dogs. The dog owners failed to show that the ordinance was unreasonable. The constitutionality was upheld because the ordinance was rationally related to the health, safety, and general welfare of the community as affected by dogs.
Humane Society v. Merriam


Minnesota allowed trapping and snaring activities. Plaintiffs sued the state, arguing that this policy was causing the death of some endangered Canada lynx, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs and defendants had the case dismissed after they agreed that Minnesota would seek a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act, and that conservation measures would be taken for the protection of the lynx.

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