Friday, August 25, 2006

Damages for Dog's Wrongful Death

Adam Karp reports:

Arbitrator Tim McGarry (WSBA 8486) served as arbitrator in the case Hane v. James (King Cy. Sup. Ct. 05-2-31242-2KNT/Darvas) on August 16. The matter involved admitted negligence by the owner of two pitbulls, felicitously named "Mafia" and "Menace," who trespassed on my clients' property, broke into a secure kennel, and killed my clients' 4-year-old border collie mix (adopted for free at a few weeks of age) in the kennel. Based on pretrial orders eliminating general damages (emotional distress), we asked for the dog's intrinsic value, loss of his use/companionship, and special damages (kennel and fence repair). Defense attorney Steve Russell with Keolker & Swerk suggested a fair award would be $5000 to $10,000 for the value of the dog plus a few hundred dollars for the kennel/fence repair. We asked for the MAR limits of $50,000.

On August 21, Mr. McGarry awarded $10,000 for "general/utility damages" (ostensibly the value of the dog) and $2750 for "special damages' (ostensibly the fence/kennel repair costs).

I believe this is one of only three arbitrated wrongful animal death cases in the State of Washington (McLeod, Van de Ven, Hane).

What this shows is that the intrinsic value of a "mutt" is worth at least $10,000. NOTE: You may recall the arb award of $6700 for the wrongful death of an 11-y.o. cat.
(Adam sent this to the email list for WSBA's Animal Law Section and agreed that I could post it here.)

Photo: Candy Sue, a law dog at SIU, courtesy of Diane Murley, one of the bloggers at Law Dawg Blawg.

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