Pl - Sinclair
Df - Okata
On June 4, 1993, Daniel Reinhard was bitten in the face by Anchor, a
two and a half year old German Shepherd dog.
Katherine Sinclair, on behalf of minors, Daniel and Michelle, filed
suit asserting causes of action based on negligence and strict
17-year-old Yoshitaka let dog out while he was reading an owners
The dog was not
on a lease.
The dog bit Daniel in the face.
The dog had 5 other prior
Assert that the past incidents establish that the dog had dangerous
propensities and that the Okatas had actual knowledge of the
The biting incidence were the result of nature instincts, over
stimulation, protective instincts and chase instinct, but not
Pl - Action
Moved for partial summary judgment on a theory of strict liability.
Domestic Animal Rule
An owner of a domestic animal becomes liable, regardless of fault, for
injuries caused by the animal which stem from a vicious
propensity, known to the owner.
The animal's owner knew or should have known of the animal's
"dangerous tendency", and
That the dangerous tendency resulted in an injury to the
RS of Torts
If Anchor did have a dangerous propensity, then it is immaterial
whether this propensity was driven by anger, playfulness,
affection or curiosity.
Df Arg #2
A possessor of a domestic animal is not subjected to liability for harm
simply and solely because it resulted from a dangerous
propensity of the domestic animal.
To be strictly liable, the possessor must have known or had reason to
know of a dangerous propensity or trait that was not
characteristic of a domestic animal of like kind.
Defendants' expert reviewed each of the four admitted biting incidents,
and as to each one she concluded that Anchor's responses were
"natural" or instinctive.
Pl screwed up
Did not challenge.
Plaintiffs offer no evidence, through expert testimony or otherwise, to
refute the opinion of defendants' expert.
It may indeed be true that Anchor's reactions in the four or five
incidents were abnormal in the sense that they were not
reactions typical of domesticated dogs, but plaintiffs have
not established that point
beyond any reasonable dispute.
Summary judgment Denied.