June 2009, Case Review / Legal Alert

Petrone (violation of a leash law giving grounds for a viable action for injuries result from a domestic animal) is overturned by the Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals issued its decision reversing the Second Department decision that allowed a dog inflicted injury case to proceed because of an alleged violation of a local leash law or ordinance and the dog’s behavior even though the dog has not displayed any prior vicious propensity. (Petrone v Fernandez, 53 AD 3rd 221, 222 (2d Dept , 2008)). Prior to the 2006 decision of the Court of Appeals in Bard v Jahnke (6 NY3d 592 [2006]), the law was well-settled in this Judicial Department that a dog owner could be held liable for negligence, including leash-law violations, that proximately caused a plaintiff's injuries, even in the absence of evidence that{**53 AD3d at 225} the dog's owner had knowledge of the animal's vicious propensities (see Scotto v Marra, 23 AD3d 543, 544 [2005]; Faller v Schwartz, 303 AD2d 624, 625 [2003]; McCullough v Maurer, 268 AD2d 569, 570 [2000]; Lisi v MRP Holdings, 238 AD2d 316, 317 [1997]; Silva v Micelli, 178 AD2d 521 [1991]). Strict liability for an animal's vicious propensities, and common-law negligence proximately causing injuries, were recognized as two separate and independent theories of liability (see McCullough v Maurer, 268 AD2d at 570).Read Full Article

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