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Rabideau v. City of Racine

Wisconsin Supreme Court
627 N.W.2d 795 (2001)


Facts

Julie Rabideau’s (plaintiff) dog, Dakota, jumped out of her truck as she parked in her driveway and ran across the street where Jed, a dog owned by Thomas Jacobi, was sitting in the front yard of Jacobi’s home. Shortly thereafter, Jacobi, who worked as a police officer for the City of Racine, Wisconsin (the City) (defendant), shot Dakota. Dakota later died. Upon seeing the shooting and later learning of her dog’s death, Rabideau suffered emotional trauma. Rabideau filed suit against the City for a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). The parties disputed the facts surrounding the shooting. The City argued that Dakota ran onto Jacobi’s property and attacked Jed and, fearing for the safety of his nearby wife and child, fired several shots from his service revolver in the vicinity of Dakota, but did not strike him. As Dakota moved toward the street, the City claims that the dog turned his head and began snarling at Jacobi and Jed. At that point, Jacobi shot Dakota believing he was about to charge. Conversely, Rabideau claimed that Dakota never attacked Jed and that Jacobi shot him as Dakota stepped off the curb toward her home. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the City. Rabideau appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Bablitch, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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