Push for veterinarian immunity

by Ted Frank on December 29, 2005

Disturbed at the growth of recent sizable rulings and requests for non-economic damages for pets (Sep. 7; Mar. 8; Nov. 21, 2003; Jul. 30, 2003), the Animal Health Institute is lobbying for liability reform that precludes such damages. (Judy Sarasohn, “Tort Watch for Animal Lovers”, Washington Post, Dec. 29).

{ 1 trackback }

Emotional value of lost pets, cont’d
09.18.08 at 2:23 pm

{ 3 comments }

1 Duqlaw98 12.30.05 at 11:05 am

“Loss of consortium” claims are just the tip of the iceberg. The real goal among animal rights activists is to confer upon animals the same legal rights and protections as human beings.

In a PA, a trial court awarded “shared custody” of a dog to its divorcing “parents,” in essence treating the dog as if it were a child. Thank God the appellate court reversed, reiterating that pets are personal property.

What’s next? Full blown custody trials for pets? Awards of pet support under the child support statutes? While the PA appellate courts actually applied the law, there may be other appellate courts all too willing to rubber stamp activist trial courts’ decisions to essentially create legal rights for animals.

2 Bob Ballentine 12.30.05 at 1:01 pm

In answer to your comment, yes there are already are custody battles over household pets and there is often significant sacrafice by one person to retain ‘custody’
As to the value of an ‘animal’ (read that long-time companion and friend more true and loving than many humans)I recently lost a 6 year old rottwieler to an incompetent vet and his staff – I later discovered that the vet had been drinking heavly the previous evening, his staff did not follow sterile procedure in the operating arena or with the instruments and the wrong drugs were drawn and administered – in Texas, mostly that gets an ‘oh well’ and an offer of a replacement puppy (trust me not the same) – I was unable to get satisfaction through the courts but by the time my local dog club, shutzhund club and others I associate with, including other vets, learned of this his business dropped off markedly and he has since moved on – I still miss Katie and, yes, it is a lot like losing a best friend – so what’s that worth after all ???

3 Supremacy Claus 12.31.05 at 6:44 pm

Replacement value should be the statutory limit of liability on both pets and human beings. This amount should also limit the services to be paid for in any settlement.

For example, the remaining actuarial salary value of a plaintiff is $1 mil. That is the sole value to society. The value to the family is infinite, and irrelevant. If care for this injured person will cost $20 mil, the settlement should not be allowed to exceed the loss to society, $1 mil.

For pets, if the dog can be replaced for $500, that is the limit of all liability. Again, the loss to the owner that loved the animal is infinite, and irrelevant. If veterinary care for this animal will cost $10,000, the limit of liability should be $500. The $9500 excess cost should be borne by the owner insisting on treating this animal, for his own gratification.

The court represents society, is paid for by society, works for society, is owned by society. Its entire and sole duty is to society, and not to plaintiffs with infinite losses.

Comments on this entry are closed.