Thursday, May 23, 2013

Koepke v. Martinez case brief

Koepke v. Martinez case brief
84 S.W.3d 393

CASE SYNOPSIS: Appellee victim sued appellant dog seller in the 275th District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas, for negligence and other claims after he was attacked by a dog. The jury awarded zero damages. The trial court then granted the victim a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and awarded damages. The dog seller appealed.

FACTS: The dog seller agreed to sell a dog to the victim's wife's employer. Because the employer was out of town, the victim's wife agreed to exchange the employer's money for the dog and take it to her employer's home. Thereafter, the victim went into the backyard to feed the animal and was attacked, suffering several injuries. The victim sued the dog owner, but the jury found contributory negligence and awarded no damages. The trial court entered a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and awarded damages. The dog seller appealed, arguing the trial court should have granted his directed verdict because he owed no duty to the victim as a matter of law. The appellate court held the gist of an action brought to recover for injuries caused by a domestic animal, resulting from other than known vicious propensities, was usually negligence of the owner in the keeping or handling of an animal. The appellate court concluded the dog seller was neither the owner, nor the handler, of the dog at the time of the incident; therefore, he owed the victim no duty.

CONCLUSION: The judgment of the trial court denying the dog seller's motion for directed verdict was reversed and judgment was rendered in his favor.

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