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Jackson v. Brantley

378 So. 2d 1109 (1979)

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Jackson v. Brantley

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

378 So. 2d 1109 (1979)

Facts

Jackson (defendant) owned horses. Four of the horses escaped. Jackson and a helper began rounding up the horses and were able to secure two. The other two remained loose. The helper led the two secured horses down the shoulder of the Mitchell-Young Road, a public highway. The helper, who had considerable experience with horses, was substantially certain the loose horses would follow the two secured horses. As the two secured horses were being led, the two loose horses followed them. Jackson, in a truck, followed slowly behind the two loose horses, two secured horses, and the helper. A car driven by Brantley (plaintiff) came around a curve in the road. Brantley’s car had its headlights on. The headlights apparently startled the horses. The two loose horses bolted. Brantley’s car struck and killed one of the loose horses, and Brantley’s car was damaged. Brantley sued Jackson for the damages to Brantley’s car. Jackson argued that he was not liable, citing Code of Alabama 1975 § 3-5-3, which states that an animal owner is not liable for damages to motor vehicles colliding with the owner’s animals, unless the animals were “knowingly or willfully” placed on the public highway where the damages occurred. Jackson counterclaimed against Brantley. The jury found in favor of Brantley and against Jackson’s counterclaim. Jackson appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Holmes, J.)

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