Tag: emotional distress
A state appeals court has upheld a California jury’s verdict requiring a man who struck a neighbor’s miniature Pinscher with a baseball bat to pay the dog’s owners $50,000 for emotional distress.
In what’s being described as the first ruling of its kind in California, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana said someone who deliberately injures or kills another person’s pet must — even though dogs are considered property — compensate the owner for emotional distress.
The ruling quoted an 1889 California Supreme Court ruling in which the justices observed that “there are no other domestic animals to which the owner or his family can become more keenly attached” than dogs.
The ruling upheld $52,800 in damages — $2,800 of it for medical bills — against John Meihaus, who struck his neighbors’ 12-inch-tall, 15-pound miniature pinscher, Romeo, with a baseball bat, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Meihaus’ next-door neighbor in Laguna Niguel, David Plotnik accidentally let Romeo enter Meihaus’ backyard, and later heard a squeal and saw Romeo stumble. He said Meihaus, who was holding a baseball bat, told him Romeo had been barking and growling at him, but denied striking the dog.
A jury ordered Meihaus to pay for a $2,600 operation to repair Romeo’s right rear leg and a $209 stroller the dog needed to get around while he recovered. It also awarded $50,000 to Plotnik and his wife, Joyce, for emotional distress.
Meihaus appealed the original verdict, but the appeals court upheld it. His lawyer said he may appeal the latest ruling to the state Supreme Court.
Donna Bader, the Plotniks’ lawyer, said the court recognized that people value their pets and suffer when they are harmed. “Every time your dog is in pain, I think it causes the homeowner pain,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, appeals, award, baseball bat, california, court, cruelty, dog, dogs, emotional distress, feud, jury, laguna niguel, min pin, miniature, miniature pinscher, neighbors, pets, pinscher, romeo, upheld, verdict
A lawsuit headed to court next week in Arlington County, Virginia will take up the question of what a pet’s life is worth.
Jeffrey Nanni sued his former domestic partner, Maurice Kevin Smith, alleging that Smith killed their 12-pound Chihuahua, Buster. Smith was found guilty of assault and battery and cruelty to animals in connection with the incident. Since Buster’s death, the suit says, Nanni, 42, a paralegal, “continues to suffer severe emotional distress.”
The suit, according to a story in Monday’s Washington Post, asks that monetary damages be awarded on the basis of Buster’s worth to Nanni “as a companion animal.”
If he wins, the case would be groundbreaking one in Virginia, where state law says that dogs and cats are considered property, and that owners are entitled to recover only the value of a pet. In the past, that has been interpreted to mean the replacement value.
Nanni’s attorney, a White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, hopes to move the boundaries of Virginia law in asking a jury to award money for “Buster’s actual value” to Nanni, saying pets have “irreplaceable relationships” with their owners.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, arlington circuit court, arlington county, buster, chihuahua, dog, dogs, emotional distress, jeffrey nanni, killed, law, lawsuit, maurice kevin smith, monetary damages, pet, pets, pricetag, replacement, value, virginia, worth