Baugh v. Beatty

91 Cal. App. 2d 786, 205 P.2d 671 (1949)

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Baugh v. Beatty

California Court of Appeal
91 Cal. App. 2d 786, 205 P.2d 671 (1949)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

Four-year-old Dennis Ray Baugh (plaintiff) was exploring a circus-animal tent that contained multiple cages of chimpanzees. Although there were ropes to prevent the visitors from approaching the cages, Dennis walked under the rope to feed a peanut to a chimpanzee. The chimpanzee bit Dennis’s hand. Dennis’s father, John R. Baugh (plaintiff) filed a personal-injury tort action against the circus operator, Clyde Beatty (defendant) on Dennis’s behalf. At the trial, Baugh presented two separate theories of negligence and requested the trial court to give two separate instructions to the jury. Baugh requested that the trial court instruct the jury that a business operator owes a duty to an invitee to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Baugh also requested that the trial court instruct the jury on the attractive-nuisance doctrine. The court denied both instruction requests. Instead, the court instructed the jury to consider whether Beatty was aware that the chimpanzee was a dangerous animal and whether Dennis had knowingly brought the injury upon himself. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Beatty. Baugh motioned for a new trial on the ground that the trial court had erred by denying the requested instructions. The trial court denied the motion, and Baugh appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilson, J.)

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