Thursday, May 23, 2013

Plowman v. Pratt case brief

Plowman v. Pratt case brief
684 N.W. 2d 28 
CASE SYNOPSIS: Appellant, claimant, was attacked and injured by a pit bull terrier. The claimant filed an action against appellees, dog owner and the dog owner's landlord. The District Court for Douglas County, Nebraska, granted the motion for summary judgment filed by the landlord, and the claimant appealed.

FACTS: The district court held that the landlord was liable for injuries caused by the attack of a tenant's dog only when the landlord had "actual knowledge" of the dangerous propensities of that dog, and determined that the landlord did not have actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities. The claimant argued that a different standard should be adopted, wherein the landlord was liable if the landlord "knew or should have known" of the dog's dangerous propensities. The appellate court declined to adopted the standard asserted by the claimant, as the appellate court determined that the actual knowledge standard represented the better rule. The actual knowledge standard was appropriate because it held landlords responsible for failing to act against certain known, unreasonable risks, while recognizing that, as a general rule, tenants enjoyed a level of privacy in their rental premises. Also, the district court did not err in concluding that the landlord did not have actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities. Normal canine behavior, such as a dog barking at a stranger, was not sufficient to infer that the landlord had actual knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities.

CONCLUSION: The judgment was affirmed.

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