New York

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Broadway, &c., Stage Company v. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


 Part I is the initial civil case which was brought by the commercial powers of New York to stop Bergh from enforcing the criminal anti-cruelty law. The judge suggests the scope of the law and what Bergh must do to utilize the law. Part II is a second case brought several months latter when the corporate legal guns again try to get Bergh. This time for violating the judges prior opinion. Part III is the claim of one of the stage operators who Bergh personally asserted for overworking a horse. The claim against Bergh is for false arrest. The Judge holds against  the stage driver, freeing Bergh. Discussed in Favre, History of Cruelty

Blake v. County of Wyoming

The City of Wyoming filed an appeal after the court dismissed the City’s motion for summary judgment. The initial law suit was filed by Cassandra Blake after she sustained injuries from a dog bite at the Wyoming County Animal Shelter. Blake was working at the shelter as a volunteer dog walker when the incident occurred. Blake filed suit against the City of Wyoming on the basis of strict liability. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision to deny the City’s motion for summary judgment on the basis that the City did not have actual or constructive knowledge that the dog had vicious propensities. The Court of Appeals rejected Blake’s argument that the City did have knowledge because the shelter was aware that the dog had previously knocked over a four year old child. The Court of Appeals found that this behavior was not notice to the shelter that the dog had any propensity to bite. As a result, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision and granted the City’s motion for summary judgment.

Bermudez v Hanan


This unpublished small claims court opinion concerns a dog bite. Claimant sought to recover monetary damages for medical bills and related expenses she incurred as a result of personal injuries suffered when Defendant's dog named "Chino" bit her on the face. At issue is whether Chino had vicious propensities and whether Defendant was aware of or had knowledge of those vicious propensities. The court found that Plaintiff did not raise an issue of fact as to the dog's vicious propensities. The court found compelling evidence that Chino was certified by the Good Dog Foundation to visit healthcare facilities as a therapy dog. As a result, the court dismissed the motion.

Beck v. Cornell University


Plaintiff was a temporary employee in the dairy barns at defendant's Animal Science Teaching and Research Center, where a population of feral cats had been living.  The Center had previously cared for the cats, but adopted a new policy to reduce the population for health and safety reasons.  Despite the Center's directions not to feed the cats, the plaintiff continued to feed the cats with his own cat food and was fired.  Plaintiff brought a suit for negligence and prima facie tort, which Supreme Court dismissed for failure to state a cause of action and the appellate court affirmed. 

Bates v. Constable


A son obtained a dog from defendant for his father to have as a pet.  The dog bit the father and the father sued defendant for failing to warn him of the dog's vicious propensities.  The Court held the defendant did not owe the second transferee of the dog a duty to warn and granted summary judgment in favor of defendant.

Barrett v. State


This case concerns a New York law that protected beavers and their habitat in New York by stating that no one "shall molest or disturb any wild beaver or the dams, houses, homes or abiding places of same."  The claimants owned land that endured considerable commercial destruction due to the beavers that were present.  Claimants were initially awarded damages and alleged on appeal that the law represented an unconstitutional exercise of police power and, that, since the beavers were "owned" by the state at the time of the destruction, the state is liable for the damage.  The Court disagreed, finding the ownership of wildlife is in the state in its sovereign capacity, for the benefit of all the people.  As a result, the state was acting in its proper police power authority and is not liable for the damage that ensued from "liberating" the beaver.

Bard v. Jahnke


A subcontractor was injured at a dairy farm he was working at when he was pinned up against a stall by a bull .  The subcontractor brought claims against the dairy farm and carpenter for negligence and strict liability.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Bailey v. Veitch


In this New York memorandum opinion, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that fact issues remained as to whether injuries sustained by child were caused by dog, and whether defendants knew or should have known of dog's vicious propensities. At the time of the alleged bite, the four-year-old child was alone in a room with the dog and sustained a gaping laceration on her nose and multiple puncture wounds on her face. The court also determined there was an issue of fact as to whether the dog previously displayed vicious tendencies where the dog bit its owner's grandson on the hand two weeks prior to the instant incident.

Aversa v. Bartlett


Plaintiff was awarded $100,000 for past pain and suffering and $200,000 for future pain and suffering after she was bitten in the face by Defendant's dog.  Defendant appealed on the basis that the jury award for future pain and suffering was unreasonable compensation.  The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court modified the judgment to be $75,000 for past pain and suffering after Plaintiff stipulated to the decrease.

Article 70 of CPLR for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, The Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. ex rel. Hercules and Leo v. Stanley Petitioner brought this proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 70 and under the common law for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Hercules and Leo, two chimpanzees in the custody of respondent State University of New York at Stony Brook. It sought an order directing respondents to demonstrate the basis for detaining Hercules and Leo, and an order directing their release and transfer to a sanctuary in Florida. Respondents opposed the petition and cross moved to change venue. While the Supreme Court of New York County found that neither CPLR 7002(b)(3) nor CPLR 7004(c) required a change of venue to Suffolk County; that the petitioner had standing to bring the case; and that prior proceedings did not bar this case from being heard, the substance of the petition required a finding as to whether a chimpanzee was a legal person entitled to bring a writ of habeas corpus. Since the Court found it was bound by the Third Department in People ex rel Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Lavery, which ruled that chimpanzees were not “legal persons” entitled to the rights and protections afforded by a writ of habeas corpus, it denied the habeas corpus petition and dismissed the proceeding.

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