The way a particular dog lover feels about their pet has no actionable value at all according to the Georgia Appellate Court! No matter how heart-broken you are about losing your dog to a third party’s negligence, you can only claim the “objective” value for this.
In March 2013, a Dachshund mix died of acute renal failure. The distraught owners filed charges against a boarding facility for their doxie’s untimely death.
In 2012, Robert and Elizabeth Monyak boarded their Dachshund mix and Labrador Retriever at Barking Hound Village in Atlanta. Shortly after they picked up their dogs, the Dachshund went into acute renal failure and ultimately died.
The couple sued Barking Hound Village and owner William Furman for damages –saying that while their two dogs were boarded, the Dachshund was given toxic doses of an NSAID that had been prescribed for the Labrador Retriever. They said they had left the medication at the kennel with directions to administer it to the Labrador.
After receiving kidney dialysis for a nine-month period, the Dachshund dog died in March 2013.
They alleged different claims of negligence by Barking Hound Village and sought compensatory damages including more than $67,000 in veterinary and other expenses they spent to have their dog treated.
Earlier this year, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s decision that damages for a dog that had no market value can be based on the animal’s intrinsic value to its owners.
In its March 30 ruling, the appellate court also found the trial court had mistakenly allowed plaintiffs to introduce evidence of non-economic factors –showing the dog’s actual value apart from its market value.
The trial court determined that medical expenses and other costs incurred while treating the dog’s illness could be presented along with non-economic factors as evidence of the pet’s “actual value” to the Monyaks.
But the defendants asserted that the proper measure for determining damages was market value of the dog, and they appealed the ruling.
Organizations and groups such as the Georgia VMA, AVMA, American Animal Hospital Association, American Kennel Club, and The Cat Fanciers’ Association were among those that filed an amicus brief with the appellate court –supporting of the defendants’ claims.
The organizations stated that the trial court made two “major” errors in determining the measure of damages available in pet litigation for acts of negligence.
The brief states:
“First, it allowed plaintiffs to introduce evidence of noneconomic damages for the injury to their pet. Second, it allowed plaintiffs to subjectively value their pet at tens of thousands of dollars based on factors highly variable from owner to owner, namely how much money owners have and are willing to spend on their pets.”
The family argued, and the trial court agreed, that since Georgia courts have recognized an alternative measure of damages for certain properties that have little or no market value, but substantial personal value to the owner. They argued that the “actual value to the owner” should be applied in the case.
But the appellate court disagreed. They found the lower court should not have allowed the introduction of non-economic factors. The Court of Appeals,then, reaffirmed that the determination of a pet’s actual value should be measured objectively.
Image source: megamandan/Socialphy
Article source: AVMA