Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mahlandt v. Wild Canid Survival & Research Center case brief

  1. Mahlandt v. Wild Canid Survival & Research Center (8th Cir 1978) (p.207)
    1. alleged attack of a wolf on a child; no one saw the incident; pretty strong evidence that the wolf didn’t assault the boy, and that the boy’s injuries happened when the boy crawled under the fence; jury finds for Δ center
    2. on appeal, π argues that three statements should have been admitted
      • two were made by Mr. Poos, in whose yard the wolf was – employee of center, was keeping the wolf in his yard, to show her off at schools
        1. after he heard about incident, he sent note to president of the center: “Call me at home, Sophie bit a child that came into our backyard”
        2. later meets president at the center, tells him “Sophie bit a child today”
      • third statement: minutes of board of center – says “there was a great deal of discussion about the legal consequences of Sophie biting a child”
    3. holding: first two statements should have been admitted (abuse of discretion not to)
      • lack of personal knowledge by the party-opponent isn’t valid basis for exclusion of statement – jury may reject the conclusion, but opponent has right to introduce it to jury
      • third statement isn’t admissible against Poos (party-Δ), since principal’s statements aren’t admissible against the agent (no reverse agency principle)
        1. and it’s substantively the same as against Δ center, so it wasn’t necessary – not abuse of discretion for trial judge to exclude it.

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