Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blaha v. Stuard case brief

Blaha v. Stuard case brief
640 N.W.2d 85

CASE SYNOPSIS: Appellant mother, as guardian ad litem for her minor child, sued appellee sellers for personal injury alleging negligence, breach of warranties, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and strict liability when a dog sold by the sellers bit the minor child. The Circuit Court Of The First Judicial Circuit, Charles Mix County (South Dakota), granted summary judgment for the sellers. The mother sought review.

FACTS: On appeal, the supreme court noted that dogs are goods and not products. Although South Dakota adopted the rule of strict liability in tort in product liability cases, dogs were not products, and thus there was no strict liability in tort. The negligence and negligent infliction of emotional stress claims also failed, as the child's mother failed to allege facts sufficient to support the contention that the dog was an abnormally dangerous animal. There was no evidence in the record to demonstrate that the dog had a prior propensity for dangerous behavior. Moreover, at the time of the incident, the dog was not possessed by the sellers. The negligent infliction of emotional stress claim also failed, as there was no breach of duty by the sellers of the dog, as the sellers did not provide incorrect information regarding the dog's past behavior. Finally, the sellers did not breach any express or implied warranties, as at the time of the dog's purchase, the only warranty expressed by the sellers was that the dog was a good retriever. There was no warranty concerning the dog's disposition around people in the future.

CONCLUSION: The judgment of the circuit court was affirmed.

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