Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mann v. Regan case brief

Mann v. Regan case brief
108 Conn.App. 566

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff filed a negligence action against defendant dog owner to recover damages for injuries sustained when plaintiff was bitten by the dog. A jury trial returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff, awarding plaintiff $ 101,411.76 and finding plaintiff 10 % at fault, which reduced the award by 10 %. The Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford (Connecticut) denied the dog owner's motion to set aside the verdict. The dog owner appealed.

FACTS: The dog owner claimed that the trial court improperly admitted into evidence a statement of the dog owner's daughter that the dog had previously bitten the dog owner and the dog owner's silence in response to that statement under the tacit admission exception to the hearsay rule. The appellate court disagreed, finding that it was not unreasonable for the trial court to have determined that the circumstances naturally called for a reply from the dog owner. The dog owner also argued that the trial court improperly instructed the jury regarding "dangerous" or "potentially dangerous" propensities. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the instructions given conveyed the same general principle as that requested by the dog owner. The appellate court further concluded that there was no meaningful distinction between the words "vicious" and "dangerous" as used in the context of an action stemming from a dog bite. Finally, the appellate court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict, noting the dog owner's testimony that the dog was afraid and distrustful of strangers and would bark and growl when people leaned toward him.

CONCLUSION: The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

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