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Wright v. Brown


    Citation. Wright v. Brown, 167 Conn. 464 (Conn. 1975)

    Brief Fact Summary. Wright (Plaintiff) commenced an action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained when principal Defendant’s dog bit him. Principal defendant and co-defendants, a town and its dog warden, filed a demurrer to Plaintiff’s counts for negligence and nuisance, contending that the Superior Court in Hartford County (Connecticut) sustained. Plaintiff sought review.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. When a statute is designed to protect persons against injury, one who has, as a result of its violation, suffered such an injury as the statute was intended to guard against, has a good ground of recovery.

    Facts. Fourteen days prior to the incident at issue, the owner’s dog attacked another person, which resulted in its quarantine. However, prior to the expiration of the statutory fourteen-day quarantine period, the dog warden released the animal. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants allowed the dog to roam freely, creating unreasonable danger in contravention of the statute. The complaint also stated a cause of action for negligence, alleging that the Defendants failed to comply with the standard of conduct required by the local statute.

    Issue. Was the statute sufficiently broad to encompass the general public welfare and thus render Defendants liable for a negligence action?

    Held. The court set aside the judgment and determined that the demurrer should have been overruled as to the counts for nuisance. It concluded that the town was not immune, because the duty to quarantine the dog was mandatory.

    Discussion. With regard to the above cited scope of statutory protection, the court in Wright provides a general guideline: “That principle of the law sets forth two conditions which must coexist before statutory negligence can be actionable. First, the plaintiff must be within the class of persons protected by the statute. Second, the injury must be of the type which the statute was intended to prevent.” The court took an expanded view toward the statute in question, that it existed to protect the general public, and that the Plaintiff fell under that wide umbrella of protection. Thus, the court set aside the judgment and remanded with direction to overrule the demurrer to the last nuisance counts of plaintiff’s comp.


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