New York

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Raymond v. Lachmann



Trial court allowed visitation in property dispute over cat between roommates.  Later, that court determined it was not in the aged cat's best interests to be shuffled back and forth so revoked its decision, awarding it to the non-possessory roommate in a straight property analysis.  The appellate court determined that it would be best for the cat to remain with the possessory party because of his age and the amount of time he had already been living there.

Rivers v. New York City Hous. Auth. In this case, the appellate court said that in order for the landlord to be held liable for injuries sustained as result of attack by tenant's pit bull, it must be demonstrated that the animal had vicious propensities and that landlord knew or should have known of these propensities. The trial court erred in taking judicial notice of the vicious nature of pit bulls, rather than letting the trier of fact determine whether the pit bull had displayed any signs of vicious or violent behavior prior to the incident. The order denying the defendant's motion for summary judgement dismissing the complaint was reversed.
Rotunda v. Haynes The plaintiff in this case filed suit against the defendant, a dog breeder, to recover medical fees after receiving a dog that had a “severe genetic heart defect.” The dog was purchased by a third party and given to plaintiff as a gift. The court in this case held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law or the Uniform Commercial Code. The court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law because the dog was not actually purchased by plaintiff. In addition, the plaintiff was not entitled to recover under the Uniform Commercial Code because plaintiff was unable to establish “privity with the defendant or personal injuries arising from the alleged defect,” which are required in order to recover damages. The judgment was affirmed.
Ruffin v. Wood


While the plaintiff was tending her garden, the defendant's dog jumped on a chain-linked fence that separated the plaintiff's and defendant's property. Startled, the plaintiff fell and injured herself. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff brought a personal injury suit against the defendant. Finding the dog had no vicious propensities, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant; the plaintiff then appealed and lost.

Russell v. Rivera


Passerby sued dog owner for bitten finger.  Held:  because dog had shown no previous vicious propensities, the owner is not strictly liable, and, the owner was not negligent.  Reversed.

Sacco v. Tate


Plaintiffs commenced the instant action to recover veterinary expenses incurred by reason of the fact that the dog sold to them by defendant was not healthy. The court held that plaintiffs were not entitled to avail themselves of the remedies afforded by article 35-D of the General Business Law by reason of their failure to comply with the requirements set forth in section 753 thereof (to wit, they did not produce the dog for examination by a licensed veterinarian designated by the dealer, nor did they furnish the dealer with a certification of unfitness of the dog within three days after their receipt thereof). The court, however, noted that the article does not limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law, so the award by the court was affirmed (albeit on a different basis).

Sarno v. Kelly


A dog bite victim sought damages against absentee landlords after the tenant's bull mastiff dog bit him in right thigh. The deposition testimony of one landlord indicated that he visited the rental house approximately once per month to collect rent and check on the house in general, and only on two of those occasions did he see the dog. During one of these visits, he petted the dog without incident. Thus, the landlord established that he neither knew nor should have known that the dog had vicious propensities, and that he did not have sufficient control over the premises to allow him to remove or confine the dog.

Save the Pine Bush, Inc. v. Common Council of City of Albany


An Organization dedicated to the protection of the Karner Blue Butterfly and other species that live in an area of land used as a nature preserve brought challenge against the City Common Council’s; (“Council”) approval of a Developer’s rezoning application for the land.

 

The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York, held that the Organization had standing to bring suit, because the Organization showed the existence of an actual injury different from that of the general public, due to the Organization’s regular use of the preserve, at least one member’s nearby residency to the preserve, and the Organization’s historic involvement in the protection and preservation of the preserve. (2010 - Order Reversed by Save the Pine Bush, Inc. v. Common Council of City of Albany, 13 N.Y.3d 297, 918 N.E.2d 917, 890 N.Y.S.2d 405, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 07667 (N.Y. Oct 27, 2009) (NO. 134)).

 

Saxton v. Pets Warehouse


In this small claims action, the plaintiff purchased an unhealthy dog from defendant that died soon after purchase.  The court held that the plaintiff is not limited to the remedies provided by General Business Law § 753 (1), which sets forth a consumer's right to a refund and/or reimbursement for certain expenses incurred in connection with the purchase of an unhealthy dog or cat, as plaintiff's dog came within the definition of "goods" as set forth in UCC 2-105 and defendant was a "merchant" within the meaning of UCC 2- 104 (1).  Accordingly, plaintiff could recover damages pursuant to UCC 2-714 on the theory that defendant breached the implied warranty of merchantability.  The case was remanded for a new trial to solely on the issue of damages limited to any sales tax paid by plaintiff that was not reimbursed by the insurance policy and the reasonable cost of veterinary expenses incurred.

Schindler v. Mejias


This appeal is an appeal of the denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment in a defamation action. Plaintiff, an attorney, brought an action against Hector L. Mejias Jr., an employee of defendant Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, claiming that Mejias falsely accused him of misrepresenting himself as the Ulster County District Attorney during a sworn deposition. The statement occurred during an incident at the SPCA where Plaintiff-Schindler was trying to pick up a dog owned by his client. The particular issue on appeal is whether the supreme court erred in determining that Mejias's supporting deposition constitutes libel per se. The court found that the alleged act was sufficiently egregious because such a claim would suggest professional misconduct on an attorney's part and invites both disciplinary action and damage to an attorney's professional reputation. Further, defendants failed to meet their burden of showing an absence of malice. The order was affirmed.

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