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In this particular case being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in New York County, the plaintiffs are seeking to recover for personal injuries as a result of smoking tobacco. The defendants in the case have moved for summary judgment to dismiss the fraud, failure to warn, and design defect claims being made against them.

Case Background

The plaintiffs in this case are seeking to recover for personal injuries including permanent neurological damage and lung cancer allegedly sustained by the plaintiff as a result of use of cigarettes that are manufactured and sold by the defendants. The plaintiff alleges that she started smoking when she was a teenager during the 1940s. By the time she turned 20 she was smoking a pack a day.

The plaintiff alleges that she tried to quit several times during the 1970s, but was addicted to the nicotine in the cigarettes and was unsuccessful in the attempts. The plaintiff finally quit smoking in 1993. In March of 1995, the plaintiff was diagnosed with lung cancer and paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration. She was cured of lung cancer later during the same year, but continues to suffer from paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration.

The plaintiff alleges that cigarettes are a defective product and not safe to be used as intended because when they are used they are both addictive and carcinogenic. The plaintiffs further allege that the defendants knew of the health hazards of using their products and concealed these hazards from the public during the time that she was a smoker.

In the amended verified complaint the plaintiffs assert causes of action against the defendants for failure to warn consumers about the dangers of using their products before 1969. They also accuse the defendants of fraud, deceit, negligent misrepresentation, negligent and defective design, breach of express warranty, and loss of consortium on behalf of the plaintiffs husband.

The defendants have issued three separate motions in the case seeking summary judgment in their favor. The defendants are using a variety of ground to support dismissal of the complaint including failure to demonstrate reasonable reliance on the alleged fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions and preemption claims that occurred after the first of July, 1969 when the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act was amended.

Case Discussion and Decision
There is several tobacco companies involved in this case as the plaintiff claims to have smoked several different brands during different times in her life. The manufacturers of the cigarettes are all seeking to have the case dismissed based on the laws that were established in 1969.

The court has agreed on several of the counts and allegations against the defendants and is granting summary judgment in regard to the claims of fraud and concealment that occurred after the year 1969. The branches of the motion for summary judgment in regard to implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose that came after the first of July in 1969 are granted as well.

All of the other issues of the case will be submitted for trial.
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In February of 2005, a man named Raqul acquired a consumer debt with AT&T. AT&T started a lien against him to recover the money that he owed to them. The address used on the lien was the address of a different person. That person was name Rachel. Their last names were also similar. The error was not caught until Rachel was informed that her college school loans were being cancelled. When she tried to find out why they were being cancelled, she was informed that she was involved in a debt procedure with AT&T. She contacted AT&T and started the process to clear her name. Unfortunately, the process to clear her debt status was lengthy. Her school loans would not be reinstated until she got the debt situation cleared up with AT&T. That meant that she had to drop out of college. Transunion, the credit reporting bureau listed the default judgment against Rachel rather than Raqul and the damage to her credit rating was devastating. As a result of Transunion erroneously damaging her credit and causing her student loan to be cancelled, Rachel started a personal injury lawsuit against them.

Rachel claims that the damage to her credit report has caused her to be denied her college education which will affect her ability to earn a living for the rest of her life. She is claiming that Transunion was negligent because they did not check to see if Raqul shared any personal identifiers with her. Transunion does not claim that the two people had the same social security numbers, dates of birth, or even the same address. They claim that the incident was just a normal human error and as soon as they were able to verify that the two persons were not the same, they removed it. Unfortunately for Rachel, it was too late to prevent her lender from denying her student loans.

The court evaluated the issue. They confirmed that Rachel did not even use AT&T, nor did she have any knowledge that Raqul existed. She did not work in concert with Raqul to defraud AT&T of any money that was owed to them. Her initial claim against the company Transunion was based on the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. It was dismissed because the court that reviewed it had stated that the case was filed after the statute of limitations for the offense had expired. She then filed the action through the New York State Fair Credit Reporting Act. Transunion requested that the court issue a summary judgment on their behalf dismissing the case because it was filed after the statute of limitations had expired. The court determined that in order to properly review this case, it would be necessary to examine the statute.

This cause of action was begun three years after AT&T filed their petition against Raqul. The court must determine if the statute of limitations in this case started to run at the time that the debt action was started, or if it began at the time that Rachel was notified by her loan officer that her loan had been rejected. Rachel contends that the statute of limitations should not begin to run until she was aware of the harm that was done to her.

The court also agrees that the statute of limitations could not start to run until there was an actual harm that could be adjudicated. That harm did not occur until Rachel became aware that her loan had been denied. Therefore, her case was filed in a timely fashion and summary judgment cannot be granted in favor of Transunion. The case will go forward to trial.
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In 1997, plaintiff underwent a liver biopsy based upon symptoms of portal hypertension which did not show established cirrhosis. In 2001, a magnetic resonance imaging exam indicated that the plaintiff had micronodular cirrhosis. In July 2004, plaintiff underwent liver transplant surgery. Thereafter, plaintiff was diagnosed with incomplete septal cirrhosis (hereinafter ISC), a condition that reflected either an ongoing injury or a regression of liver scarring. In addition, plaintiff was diagnosed with hepatoportal sclerosis (hereinafter HPS), a relatively uncommon liver condition which can lead to the shrinking of the liver and the development of portal hypertension.

Subsequently, plaintiff commenced the instant action against defendant, which manufactures and sells Tylenol; that her intake of Tylenol caused her injuries. In the amended complaint, the plaintiff sought to recover damages for negligence, failure to warn, defective design, breach of implied and express warranties, and a violation of the General Business Law; to recover damages for the personal injuries suffered under product liability. Expert disclosures were presented before the court.

Following discovery, defendant moved to preclude plaintiff’s expert testimony relating to the plaintiff’s theory of medical causation and for summary judgment dismissing the amended complaint.

On 19 January 2010, the Supreme Court, inter alia, granted the defendant’s motion in its entirety. The Supreme Court determined that defendant met its burden by demonstrating that there was no evidence linking acetaminophen to cirrhosis. The Supreme Court stated that there were no studies or medical literature concluding that the ingestion of normal doses of acetaminophen caused cirrhosis and that plaintiff was attempting to draw a medical parallel between the ingestion of proper doses and excessive doses to conclude that acetaminophen caused cirrhosis; that almost all of the case reports involved the ingestion of doses greater than the recommended dose, or involved a patient who had a disease other than cirrhosis; and the conclusion that plaintiff’s condition was uncommon was not accepted within the medical community. The Supreme Court concluded that plaintiff had failed to introduce any studies, peer reviewed articles, professional literature, judicial opinions, or recognized textbooks that set forth the plaintiff’s experts’ novel premise that the normal ingestion of acetaminophen can cause cirrhosis; that without supporting material, plaintiff failed to satisfy the evidentiary requirements of Frye.

Hence, plaintiff appeals the aforesaid decision.

The Issue:
The issue here is the admissibility of the plaintiff’s experts’ opinions relating to the plaintiff’s novel theory of medical causation.

The Ruling:
New York courts in applying the Frye test permit expert testimony based on scientific principles, procedures, or theories only after the principles, procedures, or theories have gained general acceptance in the relevant scientific field. A Frye inquiry addresses the question of whether the accepted techniques, when properly performed, generate results accepted as reliable within the scientific community generally. The burden of proving general acceptance rests upon the party offering the disputed expert testimony. While courts will go a long way in admitting expert testimony deduced from a well-recognized scientific principle or discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs.

As a rule, general acceptance does not necessarily mean that a majority of the scientists involved subscribe to the conclusion. Rather, it means that those espousing the theory or opinion have followed generally accepted scientific principles and methodology in evaluating clinical data to reach their conclusions.

The Frye test typically considers the admissibility of new scientific tests, techniques, or processes. The Frye test has also been applied to determine the admissibility of expert testimony based on new social and behavioral theories. Nevertheless, where there is no novel or innovative science involved, or where the tendered scientific deduction has been deemed generally accepted as reliable, there remains a separate inquiry applied to all evidence. This inquiry is whether there is a proper foundation to determine whether the accepted methods were appropriately employed in a particular case. Hence, where a plaintiff’s qualified experts offer no novel test or technique, but intend to testify about a novel theory of causation, where such opinion is supported by generally accepted scientific methods, it is proper to proceed directly to the foundational inquiry of admissibility, which is whether the theory is properly founded on generally accepted scientific methods or principles.

Here, plaintiff correctly contends that her proffered experts have not utilized any novel scientific techniques or evidence but seek to set forth the novel theory that therapeutic acetaminophen use caused the plaintiff’s liver cirrhosis primarily based upon the fact that acetaminophen is a hepatotoxin and that certain case studies suggest a relationship between acetaminophen and cirrhosis.

Generally, deductive reasoning or extrapolation, even in the absence of medical texts or literature that support a plaintiff’s theory of causation under identical circumstances, can be admissible if it is based upon more than mere theoretical speculation or scientific hunch. Deduction, extrapolation, drawing inferences from existing data, and analysis are not novel methodologies and are accepted stages of the scientific process. Nevertheless, a court may conclude that there is simply too great an analytical gap between the data and the opinion proffered.

Thus, the court finds that the data upon which plaintiff’s experts relied upon is insufficient to support their novel theory of medical causation, rendering that theory speculative.

In the instant case, plaintiff only adduced two case reports of individuals before the Supreme Court that linked therapeutic usage of acetaminophen and the development of liver cirrhosis in otherwise healthy subjects. Courts have recognized that observational studies or case reports are not generally accepted in the scientific community on questions of causation and the case studies relied upon constitute merely observational data which are of a lesser caliber than controlled clinical studies from which results can be reviewed and verified. Moreover, even taking the two case studies at face value, they do not unequivocally state that acetaminophen caused the liver cirrhosis observed therein. The two studies merely hypothesized that the liver injuries sustained by the patients therein were related to ingestion of therapeutic doses of acetaminophen and that further study was warranted.

Furthermore, the analytical gap between the plaintiff’s scientific data and her experts’ theory of causation is widened by the contrary scientific articles submitted by defendant that concluded, among other things, that acetaminophen is safe in therapeutic doses, even for individuals suffering from liver disease. Acetaminophen is not a new drug. For over 50 years,

acetaminophen has been widely available without a prescription. The record is replete with evidence showing that the effects of acetaminophen on the human liver have been studied extensively. Indeed, plaintiff’s expert acknowledges that acetaminophen has been the subject of thousands of journal articles and a vehicle for extensive research into hepatotoxicity.
What’s more, the singular clinical study that plaintiff relied upon to connect therapeutic acetaminophen ingestion to the development of cirrhosis is a 2006 study which does not support the plaintiff’s theory of causation since it states that the clinical importance of the ALT elevations was unclear, and the authors of the study did not interpret the finding of raised ALT levels to be indicative of serious liver injury. Indeed, the authors found that acetaminophen clearly has a remarkable safety record when taken as directed, and chronic treatment with 4g daily has been confirmed to be safe.

In addition, the speculative nature of plaintiff’s experts’ theory of causation is exemplified by a review of the 2007 HPS study, in which the defendant identified the plaintiff as “patient 7”. While that study indicated that plaintiff’s presumed liver disease was cryptogenic cirrhosis, the authors of the study wrote that the scarcity of reported cases of HPS requiring a liver transplant may be because of the fact that this unusual entity may often go unrecognized and be classified as cryptogenic cirrhosis. This study does not even mention acetaminophen much less draw a correlation between the plaintiff’s condition and her use of acetaminophen.
In conclusion, plaintiff did not put forward any clinical or epidemiological data or peer reviewed studies showing that there is a causal link between the therapeutic use of acetaminophen and liver cirrhosis. Consequently, it was incumbent upon the plaintiff to set forth other scientific evidence based on accepted principles showing such a causal link.
Henceforth, the court finds that the methodology employed by the plaintiff’s experts, correlating long term, therapeutic acetaminophen use to the occurrence of liver cirrhosis, primarily based upon case studies, was fundamentally speculative and that there was too great an analytical gap between the data and the opinion proffered. When an expert seeks to introduce a novel theory of medical causation without relying on a novel test or technique, the proper inquiry begins with whether the opinion is properly founded on generally accepted methodology rather than whether the causal theory is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community. Plaintiff failed to meet that burden.

Accordingly, the court affirms the decision of the Supreme Court in granting that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to preclude plaintiff’s expert testimony relating to plaintiff’s theory of medical causation; that branch of defendant’s motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the amended complaint is granted.
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The Facts:

Plaintiffs commenced a products liability action against major U.S. tobacco companies to recover compensatory and punitive damages for the personal injuries suffered by, and eventual death of the decedent, who allegedly smoked cigarettes manufactured by defendants. On 20 February 2004, plaintiffs filed their summons and complaint.

Following a motion to dismiss the complaint, the defendants remaining in the action are four tobacco manufacturers.

Plaintiffs claim that the decedent developed lung cancer and died as a result of smoking cigarettes manufactured by defendants.

In motion sequence, defendants moved for a summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ first amended verified complaint with prejudice.

Plaintiffs are the daughter of decedent, the executrix of her estate and the decedent’s husband.

On behalf of all defendants, two of the manufacturer’s sought to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, failure to warn, fraudulent concealment, concerted action, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting. All defendants also seek to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims for defective design or defective product, addiction, wrongful death, loss of consortium, punitive damage.

One manufacturer seeks to dismiss, on behalf of all defendants, plaintiffs’ claims for fraudulent concealment after 1 July 1969, on the ground of federal preemption.
Two of the defendant manufacturers separately move to dismiss all claims for failure to warn and fraudulent concealment, asserted against them individually, on the basis that these claims are limited to the time period before 1 July 1969, and the decedent did not smoke cigarettes manufactured by them, in its capacity as successor by merger, until 1975, or cigarettes manufactured by the other until 1978.

The Ruling:

As a rule, in order to grant a summary judgment, the court must determine whether a material and triable issue of fact exists. After the movant makes a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the opposing party to produce evidentiary proof sufficient to establish the existence of a material issue of fact that requires a trial. When deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion and must give that party the benefit of every inference which can be drawn from the evidence.
On Plaintiff’s Design Defect Claims (defective product):

Here, the expert opinion presented combined with the balancing of the evidence presented by both parties, raises a triable issue regarding cigarettes’ inherent risks and whether safer alternative designs existed. The evidence presented by plaintiffs raise issues of fact as to whether defendants acted unreasonably in designing cigarettes by refusing to adopt safer technology, on its claim for a negligently designed product. Additionally, plaintiffs raised an issue of fact as to whether cigarettes were not reasonably safe, and whether that was a proximate cause of the decedent’s injury.

Thus, summary judgment is denied on plaintiffs causes of action for design defect (defective product).

On the issue of Plaintiffs’ Claims for Punitive Damages:

Under the law, punitive damages may be recovered even though only private rights are involved. Thus, plaintiff is obliged to satisfactorily explain how defendants’ breach constituted a high degree of moral turpitude and such wanton dishonesty as to imply a criminal indifference to civil obligations. Whether to award punitive damages on the basis of moral turpitude and wanton dishonesty is a matter for the jury.

Here, defendants failed to establish that plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages is barred by res judicata and determination of whether to award such damages is an issue for the fact-finder.
Thus, defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages is denied as premature.

On the Plaintiffs’ Fraudulent Misrepresentation Claim:

In order to establish a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation, plaintiffs must show that: the defendant made a material false representation; the defendant intended to defraud the plaintiff thereby; the plaintiff reasonably relied upon the representation; and the plaintiff suffered damage as a result of his/her reliance.

Here, plaintiffs failed to establish that the decedent relied on tobacco advertisement made by defendants to start or continue to smoke; plaintiffs failed to show that the decedent’s belief that light cigarettes were safer than regular cigarettes was based on an advertisement the decedent had seen and relied on.

Thus, as reasonable reliance is a necessary element to recover on damages on a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation, summary judgment on plaintiffs’ fraudulent misrepresentation claim is granted.

On the Plaintiffs’ Negligent Misrepresentation Claims:

Negligent misrepresentation occurs when defendant has imparted the information under circumstances and in such a way that it would be reasonable to believe the plaintiff will rely upon it. The plaintiff must rely upon it in the reasonable belief that such reliance is warranted.
Here, the voluminous amount of tobacco-related documents should not obscure the purpose of the litigation. The cigarette industry has disseminated a large amount of information to advertise their products to current smokers and to attract new consumers. Defendants have created such a large pool of documents in an attempt to sell their product, whereby it is impossible for plaintiffs to pinpoint and identify each misrepresentation produced by defendants. However, plaintiffs have provided sufficient evidence to raise questions of fact as to whether defendants knowingly made false statements as to the health risks posed by cigarettes. This evidence includes, but is not limited to, a press release made by the American Tobacco Company’s president from the beginning of the 1950s to the late 1960s denying the dangerous nature of cigarettes; a variety of advertisements and newspaper articles laid out over two decades from the 1950s to the beginning of the 1970s emphasizing the low level of tar in cigarettes and even in some cases emphasizing the proof of the cigarette’s health protection.

Thus, plaintiffs sufficiently raise a triable question of material fact as to defendants’ alleged fraudulent misrepresentation, and, as to the decedent’s reliance upon such misrepresentation; summary judgment on plaintiffs’ negligent misrepresentation claim is denied.

On the Plaintiffs’ Failure to Warn and Fraudulent Concealment Claims:

A claim for fraudulent concealment is predicated on concealment of a material fact, not readily available to the plaintiff, scienter, justifiable reliance, and injury. There can be no fraudulent concealment claim based upon information which is common knowledge. Similarly, a manufacturer has no duty to warn a consumer of risks of a product which are ordinarily discoverable.

Clearly, a triable issue exists as to whether the actual health risks of cigarette smoking were common knowledge to the decedent during the time that she smoked cigarettes. While information surrounding health-related issues and cigarettes have always been a contentious issue for the tobacco industry, a review of the record, which includes several Surgeon General reports, recent newspaper articles about the recent increase of nicotine in cigarettes, new information on light cigarettes, testimony from the decedent’s family members, and statements by representatives of the tobacco industry reveal that a reasonable jury may differ as to the availability of information to the ordinary consumer. While the overall dangers of cigarette smoking have come to be more widely disseminated, due the mandated warnings that now appear on cigarette packs after the decedent started smoking, a reasonable jury may differ as to consumers’ awareness of smoking’s related injuries, illnesses and later death.
Thus, defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ failure to warn claim is denied.
On the Fraudulent Concealment Claims and Negligent Misrepresentation Post-July 1969 Based Upon Preemption:

Plaintiffs do not dispute that all claims for failure to warn that accrued subsequent to 1969 are preempted as to all defendants, based upon the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. However, the Act does not preempt fraudulent concealment claims.

New York courts have similarly focused on a two-fold analysis to determine whether fraudulent concealment claims should be preempted: the extent of the manufacturer’s legal duty imposed by New York State to disclose material facts regarding smoking and health and whether the channels of communications involve means other than advertising or promotion. New York imposes a duty not to conceal material facts with intent to defraud.

Thus, the court denies defendants’ motion for summary judgment to dismiss the causes of action for fraudulent concealment and negligent misrepresentation occurring after 1969 to the extent that the motion is based on a common law duty imposed on the defendants to disclose the allegedly concealed material facts through channels of communication other than advertising or promotion.

On Plaintiffs’ Alternative Theories of Liability:

The theory of concerted action does not apply in this products liability action. The theory of concerted action provides for joint and several liability on the part of all defendants having an understanding, express or tacit, to participate in a common plan or design to commit a tortious act. The theory of concerted action is not available when plaintiff can identify the manufacturer of the allegedly defective product.

Here, the decedent’s family has identified the manufacturer of cigarettes which decedent smoked at any given time; thus, the theory of concerted action does not apply.

Thus, defendant’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss the claims for concerted action, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting is granted and the claims are dismissed.

On Plaintiffs’ Claims for Damages from Addiction:

Plaintiffs herein are not asserting a claim for damages arising out of the decedent’s addiction. Thus, defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ claims for damages from addiction is moot. Nonetheless, the Court will consider evidence concerning the decedent’s addiction, if relevant, to prove other claims.

On Plaintiffs’ Wrongful Death and Loss of Consortium Claims:

Plaintiffs’ causes of action for loss of consortium and wrongful death are dependent on a viable underlying cause of action. Thus, defendants’ motion for summary judgment on these claims is denied.

On Plaintiffs’ Claims Against two of the remaining defendants, individually:

A review of the decedent’s family’s testimony reveals that the decedent did not smoke a two defendants’ brand until 1975. A party must plead and prove that the smoker consumed the cigarettes manufactured by the defendant tobacco manufacturer in order to recover damages in a products liability action. Thus, all failure to warn, in addition to fraudulent concealment claims based on pre-1969 conduct could not be a proximate cause of the decedent’s death. Accordingly, defendant’s motion for summary judgment is granted, and the claims asserted against the two manufacturers are dismissed.

In sum, defendants’ motion for summary judgment is denied on plaintiffs’ causes of action for design defect; defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ punitive damages claim is denied at this juncture; defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ fraudulent misrepresentation cause of action is granted; defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the causes of action for fraudulent concealment and negligent misrepresentation occurring after 1969 is denied to the extent that the motion is not based on a common law duty imposed on the defendants to disclose the allegedly concealed material facts through channels of communication other than advertising or promotion; plaintiffs’ concerted action, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting claims are dismissed; defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ loss of consortium and wrongful death claims is denied; and defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted as to claims against two of the manufacturers for claims based on pre-1969 conduct.
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In this action, a couple who owned two curly coated bichon frises filed an action against another dog and its owner. The couple seeks injury damages to include the costs of veterinarian services, two days lost wages in caring for another dog and all other appropriate damages.

The incident happened when the owner of the German shepherd allowed her dog to run loose without a leash and it occurred twice. On those two occasions, the German shepherdentered onto the couples’ property and viciously attacked the curly coated bichon frise causing severe injury. On both occasions, the bichon frise was taken to a veterinarian for treatment of the injuries inflicted by the German shepherd. The veterinarian bills were $392 for the first dog attack and $182 for the second animal attack.

Consequently, the couple commenced a lawsuit in another court seeking damages for the injuries sustained by their dog and themselves. After the proceeding, the court found that the German shepherd and its owner were responsible for the injuries inflicted upon the bichon frises and awarded damages of $524.

After a year, the younger bichon frise was with his owner who was in his driveway shoveling snow. Suddenly, the German shepherd appeared, sniffed and viciously attacked the bichon frise. The owner of the bichon frise chased the German shepherd away and took his dog to the veterinarian. The bichon frise remained hospitalized for four days and undergone a surgery. The photographs presented at trial showing a 10 inch wound held together with surgical staples running from the bichon frise’s stomach to his back. The veterinarian bills for the dog’s hospitalization, care and treatment were $819, considerably more than those incurred by the other bichon frise just the year before.

The couple then initiated an action seeking again damages. In response, the owner of the German shepherd stated that she had built a fence around her backyard to keep her dog enclosed. Unfortunately, the German shepherd escaped from the enclosure, went to the couple’s house and mauled the bichon frise. Based upon the facts of the case the court finds that the couple has stated a cognizable reason of action for strict liability for injuries caused by a vicious and dangerous dog.

Based on record, the owner of the German shepherd knew full well that her dog possessed vicious tendency aince on two prior occasions the dog attacked the bichon frise causing substantial injuries for which the court found her liable and responsible. The construction of the fence by the owner of the shepherd to enclose the dog has no significance because in law liability is not dependent upon proof of negligence in the manner of keeping or confining the animal since, in fact, the dog escaped and viciously attacked and mauled bichon frise. All of the elements of a strict liability reason of action-vicious dog are met and the court finds the owner of the shepherd strictly liable for all appropriate damages.

Consequently, the court awards damages to the couple which includes the $819 veterinarian bills for the bichon frise’s hospitalization, care and treatment, the $156 lost wages incurred by the couple in caring for the bichon frise. Further, the court also finds that the owner of the shepherd misconduct to be morally liable and her dog was a dangerous instrumentality. The punitive damages are appropriate in the case and are needed to prevent other dog owners from failing to protect humans and other animals from vicious and dangerous dogs. Additionally, such damages will encourage the owner of the shepherd to take appropriate measures in the future to protect her neighbors from her dog or similar like-minded dogs. The court awards the couple for punitive damages amounting $1,000.
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