Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Martinez v. Robledo (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 23, 2012)

Pets rule.  At least according to the Court of Appeal.

The traditional rule is that you determine a plaintiff's loss by the market value of the property.  As a result, when your pet -- the market value of which is often zero -- gets injured, you're simply out of luck.

But times are changing.  And they're not going back.

The Court of Appeal has now decided a couple of cases that hold that you can recover even tens of thousands of dollars in vet expenses if your animal is injured and actually incur those expenses, and can do so even if those expenses exceed the market value of the animal.

Because pets are different.

How far this will eventually go remains to be seen.  Right now we're just talking about out-of-pocket expenses being "reasonable" even though they exceed market value.  Whether, in the future, you can recover for emotional distress, loss of consortium or the like remains indeterminate.

But it's a big step just doing what the Court of Appeal is now willing to do.

Animal law.  Not just dog bite cases anymore.