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While Md. Code. Ann. Crim. Law 10-615 does not provide for seizure of an animal that is already in state custody in connection with a criminal proceeding, an officer of a humane society may notify the animal’s owner or custodian of an intent to take possession of the animal upon the animal’s release from state custody in the criminal case, and the seizure of an animal under the statute need not occur contemporaneously with the alleged mistreatment of the animal. In this case, the humane society exercised its authority under section 10-615 to take possession of Petitioner’s animals based on allegations of animal cruelty. Petitioner unsuccessfully petitioned the district court for their return. Ultimately, the vast majority of the animal cruelty charges against Petitioner were disposed of by dismissal or acquittal, but the humane society retained possession of the animals. The Court of Appeals remanded the case in light of the change of circumstances since the district court’s initial decision, holding (1) Petitioner was not entitled to return of the animals based on the humane society’s alleged failure to comply with section 10-615; but (2) the denial of Petitioner’s petition for return of the animals did not eliminate Petitioner’s ownership interest in the animals. View "Rohrer v. Humane Society of Washington County" on Justia Law

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While walking past respondent Alexander Trujillo’s home on his way to the playground, petitioner N.M. became frightened when Trujillo’s two pit bulls rushed at the front-yard fence. Although the dogs did not get out of the yard or touch N.M., N.M. ran across the street and was struck by a passing van, which seriously injured him. N.M., by and through his parent and legal guardian, sued Trujillo for, as pertinent here, negligence. Trujillo moved to dismiss that claim, contending that N.M. had not sufficiently pleaded the requisite element of duty. The district court agreed and dismissed the case, and in a split, published decision, a division of the court of appeals affirmed. The Colorado Supreme Court granted certiorari, and found given the circumstances presented here, concluded Trujillo did not owe N.M. a duty of care. Because N.M.’s claim against Trujillo was predicated on Trujillo’s alleged nonfeasance, or failure to act, and because this case was distinguishable from cases in which a dangerous or vicious animal attacks and directly injures someone, N.M. was required to plead a special relationship between himself and Trujillo in order to establish the duty of care necessary to support a negligence claim. View "N.M. v. Trujillo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Aristea Hupp (Aristea) appealed after the trial court granted defendants Solera Oak Valley Greens Association and City of Beaumont Animal Control Officer Jack Huntsman’s ex parte application to dismiss Aristea’s first amended complaint (FAC) as a vexatious litigant. Aristea argued: (1) the trial court’s order granting Solera’s ex parte application to dismiss deprived her of her due process rights to notice and an opportunity to be heard; (2) Solera waived its vexatious litigant defense by not raising it in its first responsive pleading; and (3) under the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (Davis-Stirling Act), she was authorized to seek recovery of damages sustained by her son, Paul Hupp (Paul), from violations of Solera’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). In 2014, Paul was declared a vexatious litigant. In 2015, Aristea and Paul filed a complaint against Solera over enforcing a community rule regarding muzzling of Pit Bulls on properties within the Solera community. The Hupps walked their dogs through the community without a muzzle. The Hupps argued the rule was only applied to the Hupps, and that Solera could not single out any one breed. After review, the Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal as to all claims alleged in the FAC which were brought by or for the benefit of Paul, on the ground he has been declared a vexatious litigant. Because Aristea had not been declared a vexatious litigant, the judgment of dismissal was reversed as to all claims in the FAC that were solely personal to Aristea. View "Hupp v. Solera Oak Valley Greens Assn." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the superior court’s determination that information such as names, addresses and telephone numbers contained on animal health certificates in the custody of the Department of Agricultural Resources is protected from disclosure under two exemptions from the statutory definition of “public records.” The two statutory exemptions at issue in this case were Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 4, 7, twenty-sixth (n) and (c), which implicate public safety and privacy. After analyzing the scope of exemptions (n) and (c) and setting forth the appropriate constructions of the exemptions, the Supreme Judicial Court remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. View "People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Department of Agricultural Resources" on Justia Law

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Defendant, a corporal in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss claims related to the search of a residence. The district court determined that defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity because a reasonable officer would have known that a warrant should not have issued based on the information he provided to the issuing court. The Eighth Circuit reversed, holding that it was not entirely unreasonable for defendant to believe that his affidavit established sufficient indicia of probable cause for the search and seizure of the items listed in the warrant. In this case, the affidavit provided probable cause to seize a deer, based on an anonymous tip and a recorded jailhouse call. Furthermore, the items described in the warrant were relevant to the criminal offense under investigation, as they directly related to the existence, capture, and maintaining of a pet deer. View "Kiesling v. Spurlock" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-taxpayers filed a complaint against the City of Los Angeles and the Director of the Los Angeles Zoo (collectively, the City) alleging that the zoo was abusing its elephants. The trial court granted summary judgment to the City, ruling that the complaint raised nonjusticiable issues of public policy. The court of appeals reversed. After a bench trial, the trial court issued injunctions against the City. The court of appeal affirmed, holding (1) the court of appeal’s earlier decision established law of the case, thus barring the City’s new argument that the claim for equitable relief was precluded by Cal. Civ. Code 3369; and (2) the Legislature authorized taxpayer actions aimed at enjoining government expenditures that support criminal conduct. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this case is governed by the general rule that law of the case does not apply to arguments that might have been but were not presented and resolved on an earlier appeal; and (2) the Legislature did not intend to overturn the long-established law governing equitable relief for violations of penal law when it amended Civil Code section 3369, but rather maintained the rule that a taxpayer action will not lie to enforce a Penal Code provision. View "Leider v. Lewis" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, as administratrix of the estate of her late husband, filed a complaint against Monroe County alleging negligence in performing statutory duties, thereby allowing vicious dogs to remain at large, and wrongful death. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the County based upon the court’s conclusion that the evidence was insufficient to establish a disputed issue of material fact in relation to the special relationship exception to the public duty doctrine. The court then entered, sua sponte, an order summarily dismissing all of Plaintiff’s remaining claims against the County. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because there was disputed evidence on each of the factors required to establish the special relationship exception to the public duty doctrine, the the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment to the County; and (2) because the summary judgment order upon which the dismissal order was apparently based was dismissed, likewise, the circuit court’s dismissal order is vacated. View "Bowden v. Monroe County Commission" on Justia Law

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The Louisiana Supreme Court granted review to determine the applicability of La. R.S. 9:2795.3, the Equine Immunity Statute. The trial court granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Equest Farm, LLC, finding that the immunity statute applied because plaintiff Danielle Larson was a participant engaged in equine activity at the time an Equest Farm pony bit her. The court of appeal reversed, holding that Larson was not a “participant” under the immunity statute, and that summary judgment was inappropriate because there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether another provision in the immunity statute might apply. The Supreme Court held that there were indeed genuine issues of material fact on the issue of whether the immunity statute applied. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the court of appeal and remanded to the trial court. View "Larson v. XYZ Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, individuals who breed and sell animals, filed the underlying action in district court, challenging a 2012 rule in which the Fish and Wildlife Service designated as injurious four species of snakes. At issue on appeal was the shipment clause in the Lacey Act, 18 U.S.C. 42(a)(1), which bars "any shipment" of certain injurious species of animals "between the continental United States, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any possession of the United States." Plaintiffs argued that the Service lacks authority under the Lacey Act to prohibit transportation of the listed species between the 49 continental States. The court agreed with the district court that the shipment clause has no bearing on shipments of animals from one of the 49 continental States to another. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of plaintiffs. View "U.S. Assoc. of Reptile Keepers v. Zinke" on Justia Law

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Amy Canney’s minor child, Nicholai, was bitten by a dog kept by Eric Burns, a neighbor who performed on-call maintenance work on properties owned by Strathglass Holdings, Inc. Canney filed a complaint on behalf of Nicholai against Strathglass, claiming that Burns was at all pertinent times the agent, servant or employee of Strathglass and was maintaining the property for the benefit of Strathglass. The superior court granted summary judgment for Strathglass, concluding that Burns was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the dog bite. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) neither Burns’s acts or omissions nor Nicholai’s presence on his premises were related to Burns’s employment or agency with Strathglass, and therefore, summary judgment on Canney’s respondent superior claims was proper; and (2) Canney’s complaint failed to allege a theory of direct liability against Strathglass, and she offered no evidence that would support a direct claim of negligence against Strathglass. View "Canney v. Strathglass Holdings, LLC" on Justia Law