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Clark v. Brings

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Brief Fact Summary.

Clark filed suit after being bit by a cat when babysittingBrings’s three children.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Owners of cats cannot be held strictly liable for injuries caused to individuals.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

We would agree that it is the mere dangerousness of an animal's character, and not any intentional malevolence, which must be proved to render its owner liable--that the propensity is vicious if it tends to harm, whether manifested in play or in anger, or in some outbreak of untrained nature which, from want of better understanding, must remain unclassified.

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Facts.

Clark filed suit after being bit by a cat when babysitting for Brings’s three children. Clark appealed after the trial court issued a directed verdict for Brings.

Issue.

Whether owners of cats can be held strictly liable for injuries caused to individuals?

Held.

No. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Clark provided evidence from a former babysitter that claimed the cat was often confined to the basement and that she was bitten by the cat. However, the former babysitter was bitten after the cat was excited by play, and the Brings’s claimed to only confine the cat to the basement to prevent damage to the furniture. The evidence presented is insufficient to prove that the cat was dangerous.

Discussion.

Owners of cats cannot be held strictly liable for injuries caused to individuals.


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