Roderick v. Lake
New Mexico Court of Appeals
778 P.2d 443 (1989)
Kelly Roderick (plaintiff) filed suit against Edgar Lake (defendant) and his brother Robert Lake (defendant) to recover damages for personal injuries he sustained when the car he was driving struck two horses that had darted out onto the road in front of him. Edgar and another man, Roland Hohenberg, were the owners of the two horses. Robert owned the fenced property on which the horses were kept. During a bench trial there was testimony that the horses were kept in a gated area at all times. Additionally, Edgar testified that he made sure the gate was latched prior to leaving the premises. However, after the accident it was discovered that the gate door had been “sprung open.” The trial judge found no negligence on the part of Robert and dismissed Roderick’s claims as to him. Additionally, the trial judge found Edgar and Hohenberg jointly and severally liable for the damages awarded to Roderick. The court based the pair’s liability on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur as well as the negligent violation of state laws requiring those having custody of an animal to ensure that it remains on an individual’s premises. Edgar and Hohenberg appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bivins, C.J.)
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