The Nelson and Robinson case all present issues regarding animal attacks. In the Nelson case, the plaintiff who is a two-year-old toddler was attacked by a dog while playing with her friends. The plaintiff unintentionally stepped on the dogs tail in which the dog reacted by scratching the childs left eye. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff as per the animal attack clause (Nelson, 1976). In Robinsons case, the plaintiff who is four years old was viciously attacked by a dog after screaming while at the defendants home. The court ruled in favor of the defendant, but, it is perceived that it erred in its ruling as per the animal attack clause.
The holding of each case
The holding, which refers to a courts answer to an issue, in Nelsons case entailed the judgment being made in favor of the defendant. Also, after the plaintiff presented requested for an appeal, the appellate court presented the view that that provocation associated with the dog bite statute puts into view whether the provocation was intentional or unintentional. As per the case, the provocation that occurred was unintentional in which the dog did not attack aggressively, and hence the defendant was free from any charges. The holding in Robinsons case is that there was an error in the first ruling and hence the ruling had to be revised as the case was in favor of the plaintiff rather than the defendant. The provocation associated with the case was not sufficient in supporting the aggression exhibited by the dog and hence the plaintiff had the right to request for the recovery of damages.
The reasoning used by each court
The reasoning used by the court in Nelsons case was as per the dog bite statute. According to the statute, for the plaintiff to obtain recovery, four elements must be present. They include; the injury inflicted by the defendants dog, the absence of provocation, the peaceable conduct of the injured individual, and the location of the plaintiff being a place where he or she has the legal right to be. A significant aspect considered in the case is the concept of provocation which include a situation that prompts excitement or stimulation. The provocation, in this case, may be either intentional or unintentional. According to the statute, if an animal, without any form of provocation attacks an individual in a location where the individual has the legal right to be present, then the animals owner is held accountable for the attack. According to the case, the child unintentionally provoked the dog which was presumed to exhibit peaceful temperament and was busy gnawing on a bone in which after the provocation, the dog reacted scratching the childs eye. The associated view is that the dog was not at fault especially since it lacks aggressive tendencies and hence precluding recovery for the plaintiff. The statute also puts into view the aspect of negligence especially if the owner of an animal is aware of its disposition. The view aligns with the Common Law in Illinois in which the plaintiff has to prove that the dog has the disposition of biting people for recovery to be considered.
It is perceived that despite the girl being of tender age, the statute does not relieve her when it comes to provoking the dog. Also, the fact that the dog was known to be peacefully and did not cause immense damages when provoked did not present the need for the plaintiff receiving recovery for the associated damages. The Robinsons case also follows the same criteria in which the four elements associated with the dog bite statute are put into consideration. The plaintiff was seriously injured by the dog and was peacefully playing in a location where she had the legal right to be before the dogs began to bark. The ruling also considered that fact that the associated provocation was not sufficient to relieve the owner from the responsibility. The basic assumption is that the plaintiff was terrified with the dogs barking such that she screamed in which one of the dogs staged the attack. Nonetheless, rather than basing the rule as per the Common Law, the ruling put into view Section 16 of the Animal Control Act. According to the act;
If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself in any place where he may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or another animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury sustained.
The act is perceived to present an alternative option of the common law for the plaintiff who has experienced an attack from an animal in which the owner is fully aware of the animals propensity to stage an attack. Nonetheless, when compared to the common law, the act does not require the need for proof of the defendants knowledge of an animals potential to attack other people. It is perceived that the act eliminates the need for the plaintiff to prove that the owner was either aware or not aware of an animals potential to attack others. The act is also viewed to enable redress of the injuries when compared to the Common law. As per the findings of the Appellate court, the
How the Robinson cases use the Nelson case authority
It can be perceived that Robinsons case utilizes the Nelson case authority as per the four elements regarding animal attack as highlighted in the Common Law. As mentioned earlier, the four elements include; the injury inflicted by the defendants dog, the absence of provocation, the peaceable conduct of the injured individual, and the location of the plaintiff being a place where he or she has the legal right to be. It puts into view the four elements in regards to the plaintiff right in receiving recovery from the damages. According to Robinsons case, the defendant agreed to the fact that the plaintiff was peaceable regarding conduct, an injury occurred after the attack and that the plaintiff was in the location legally. The issue that required consideration was the provocation of the animal.
The procedural posture of each case
As highlighted earlier, the procedure posture of Nelsons case was as per the Common Law. However, for Robinsons case, Section 16 of the Animal Control Act was put into consideration. The main difference between the Common Law and the act is that the act eliminates the need of the plaintiff to prove that the owner was either aware or not aware of an animals potential to attack others. The cases can work together with regards to the dog bite statute that puts into view the four elements mentioned above. The main difference is the elimination of the view that the owner was or was not aware of an animals disposition to attack others in the act.
American Legal System Hierarchy of Authority Sample Case Brief Format
Nelson V. Lewis, 344 N.E.2d 268 (1976).
Robinson v. Meadow, 361 N.E. 2d 111 (1990).
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