Thursday, May 23, 2013

Parrish v. Wright case brief

Parrish v. Wright case brief
828 A.2d 778

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff dog bite victim appealed from a summary judgment of the Superior Court, Hancock County (Maine), in favor of defendant landowners in an action seeking recovery for injuries under theories of statutory liability under former Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 3961 (Pamph. 1999) and of common law strict liability for damage done by animals and common law negligence.

FACTS: The landowners used their Maine cottage a few months each year, but allowed their grown daughter, a Maine resident, to use it as she wished. One week-end when she and her dog were in the house, the dog ran off the property to fight with the victim's dog, as they passed by on a walk, and bit the victim. The court held that there was no way the landowners could be considered the "owners or keepers" of the dog for purposes of statutory liability, under either the older or the amended version of the statute. Furthermore, the landowners could not be said to have knowingly harbored a dangerous domestic animal for purposes of common law strict liability. There was no evidence that the dog was abnormally dangerous at all, let alone that the landowners knew about it. Finally, again in part because the dog was not known to be dangerous but mainly because the landowners were not even in-state, they had no duty to the victim, who was not even on their property, to protect him against a danger of which they did not know, that happened to emerge off their property.

CONCLUSION: The court affirmed the judgment.

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