Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pet-Poisoning Cases

Lawyers Set to Argue New Legal Theory in Pet-Poisoning Cases, Nat'l L.J. (, April 10, 2007:

Class action litigators and animal law attorneys are joining forces across the country to sue Menu Foods Inc. and pet food distributors over the poisoning of dogs and cats, with some lawyers aiming to set a new precedent in recoveries for pet-owner clients.
They may get bigger damages awards than from similar past cases partly because the incident is unique in the high number of pets -- hundreds or perhaps thousands -- that have been injured or killed by the poisoning, the lawyers said.

In the past, U.S. courts have viewed pets as property and therefore mainly allowed damages for the cost of an animal, which is typically low for most cats and dogs, and veterinarian bills.

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Some of the lawyers who have filed the lawsuits say they'll argue that pets are 'special property' that have an intrinsic value beyond market worth.
One of the lawyers quoted is Adam Karp, a UW alumnus and part-time faculty member, who has brought a case in the Western District of Washington.

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