Monday, November 11, 2013

Marsalis v. LaSalle case brief

Marsalis v. LaSalle case brief summary
94 So. 2d 120 (La. App. 1957)

Defendant cat owner appealed trial court judgment in favor of plaintiff victim bitten or scratched by cat in action for defendant's negligent failure to contain cat for a period to determine if it had rabies.


Plaintiff was scratched or bitten by defendant's cat. Defendant agreed to keep the cat at his home for fourteen days to determine if it was rabid, but let the cat escape after five days. The cat did not return for a month, and plaintiff was required to undergo treatment for rabies, to which she had an allergic reaction. The trial court entered judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appealed.


  • The court affirmed the judgment to the extent that it held defendant liable, because defendant voluntarily undertook to afford assistance to an injured person, so a he was under a legal duty to use reasonable care and prudence his actions. 
  • Defendant negligently failed to use reasonable care to contain the cat as agreed. 
  • The court reduced the damage award for hospitalization and nursing care expenses because plaintiff failed to prove they were necessary as a result of the rabies treatment.

Court amended judgment for plaintiff to reduce award of damages based on lack of evidence concerning necessity of hospital stay, and affirmed judgment because defendant cat owner undertook to assist plaintiff by containing cat for a period to determine if it had rabies, then negligently let the cat escape.

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