Drake v. Dean

19 Cal. Rptr. 2d 325, 15 Cal. App. 4th 915 (1993)

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Drake v. Dean

California Court of Appeal
19 Cal. Rptr. 2d 325, 15 Cal. App. 4th 915 (1993)

Facts

The dog owned by Robert Dean (defendant) jumped onto Ruth Mildred Drake (plaintiff). Drake fell and suffered multiple injuries, including a broken hip and head lacerations. Drake sued Dean for her personal injuries. At trial, Dean and several witnesses testified that the dog was well-behaved. Dean denied the allegation that the dog frequently jumped onto people. Drake requested that the trial court instruct the jury on strict-liability and negligence theories. The trial court denied the request to provide the typical negligence instructions. The court relied on Hagen, in which the California Court of Appeal stated that a plaintiff seeking to recover for injuries from a dog on a negligence theory must demonstrate that the defendant knew or should have known his dog had an abnormal dangerous propensity. Drake chose to forgo any instructions on negligence. The court gave the jury instructions on the strict-lability theory, which also required the jury to find that a defendant knew or should have known the dog had an abnormal dangerous propensity. The jury returned a verdict in Dean’s favor on the ground that Drake had not demonstrated that Dean knew or should have known his dog had an abnormal dangerous propensity. Drake appealed on multiple grounds, including that the trial court erred by refusing to provide the jury with the standard negligence instructions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Puglia, J.)

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