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Maguire v. Yanke

Idaho Supreme Court
590 P.2d 85 (1978)


Jack Maguire (plaintiff) farmed 82 acres of unfenced land. Sheldon Yanke (defendant) had a ranch across the road, which included a herd of 130 cows, 130 calves, and eight bulls. Yanke fenced the ranch, but his cattle broke through the fence on several occasions and caused damage to Maguire’s land. Maguire sued Yanke and sought approximately $4,000 in actual damages and $10,000 in punitive damages. Idaho has rejected the common-law rule that owners of cattle and other livestock are responsible for damage caused by the animals. Instead, Idaho generally requires landowners to fence in their property to prevent cattle from entering onto the property and causing damage and permits those landowners to recover damages only if livestock break through a fence that meets certain standards. However, Idaho has also adopted a law that permits landowners to vote to create herd districts, which require livestock owners to fence their animals inside their land. That law excludes areas defined as open ranges from being eligible to be included in a herd district. Maguire and Yanke lived in an area of Idaho that was historically an area of enclosed lands. The trial court found in favor of Maguire and awarded actual damages but not punitive damages. Yanke appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Donaldson, J.)

Dissent (Bakes, J.)

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