Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tucker v. Duke case brief

Tucker v. Duke case brief
873 N.E2d 664

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff injured party filed a small claims action alleging negligence against defendants, a dog owner and the dog's keeper. The Blackford Superior Court (Indiana) entered judgment against defendants in the amount of $ 6,000 plus interest and costs, and denied the dog keeper's motion to correct error. The dog keeper appealed.

FACTS: The evidence showed that the dog keeper kept the dog, a pit bull belonging to his girlfriend, on his property staked to a chain for four months and that the pit bull became loose on the day in question and attacked the injured party on her own property. On appeal, the dog keeper argued that the small claims court's decision was error because there was absolutely no evidence that he knew or should have known of any vicious propensity on the part of the dog. The appellate court held that the small claims court's judgment that the dog keeper was liable on grounds of negligence was not clearly erroneous. While the dog did not have a history of violence, the dog had been chained to a stake in the dog keeper's backyard for four months, allowing for a reasonable inference that the dog had become dangerous and vicious due to lack of training and socialization. In addition, the dog owner testified that she had previously had two pit bulls that had to be put to sleep because they exhibited dangerous propensities and the appellate court noted that the particular breed was known for having such dangerous propensities.

CONCLUSION: The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

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