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Clark v.


FACTS: P alleged she was attacked and bitten without warning by D’s cat. The trial court
entered a directed verdict for D and P appealed that SL should be applied, and therefore, they
should have warned her of the cat’s dangerous propensities and also the statutes covering injuries
by dogs should be extended to include injuries cause by cats.

ISSUE: Whether there is a sufficient evidence to present this case to the jury when SL imposed
liability on owners of domestic animals, if they knew of the animal’s dangerous propensities, in
this case the cat’s dangerous propensities to attack and bit without provocation and whether the
dog’s owner liability should be extended to cover that of cats

RULE: For animals considered domestic, P must prove that the particular animal was abnormal
and dangerous, and that its owner or harborer let it run unfettered though he actually or
constructively had knowledge of its harmful propensities.
To show prior acts of viciousness: P must show
i. Cats once bit a babysitter
ii. The cat scratched several members of the household; and
iii. The cat was confined to the basement for that reason
On the extension of dog owner liability statute, statute does not apply to cats; and its
modification is a decision of the legislature.

APPLICATION: Here, P was scratched by D’s cat but not for the reason P stated b/c evidence
showed that the incidence had happen b/c P and D’s children were playing with the cat by
pulling a spool across the basement floor which got the cat excited from chasing it and caused a
superficial bite on P’s hand. The cat scratched P b/c the cat’s provocation and excitement was
caused by the play. Second, the alleged claim that the cat scratched several members of the
household is contested by the fact that the cat only scratches them when they pick it up or
playfully handling it; and third with regards to D’s knowledge of the cat’s viciousness by
restraining it in the basement was also contested by the fact that the cat was only retrained in the
basement b/c of the cat’s tendency to scratch the furniture not people and D’s children, the
youngest shared the basement with the cat, since there playful toys is located in the same
basement P contested was the cat’s retraining area.
And, P’s wish for the court to include cats in the same categories as the statute is ungrounded b/c
the statute was created b/c dogs have a greater propensity to bite. If you want to bring your dog
out into public, you should be prepared to pay for the damage they cause others. SL does not
apply if the animal was antagonized.

CONCLUSION: Therefore, the circumstances present in this case is insufficient to summit to

the jury
Byram v. Main

FACTS: P’s tractor-trailer rig struck D’s daughter pet donkey, which had escaped from its
enclosure and wandered onto a highway. After a bench trial in which the court found D strictly
liable for the damages to P’s rig in the amount of $27,478.52, P appealed
Procedural history needs classification

ISSUE: Whether owner of a domestic animal that has escape and wandered onto a high speed
highway is strictly liable for harm resulting from a motor vehicle’s collision with that animal.

RULE: strict liability applies to owners of wild animal for injuries caused by their animal only
if the injury was caused by abnormal danger, by the dangerous propensities normal to the class to
which the animal belongs to, and by dangers of which the possessor knows or has reason to
know. See Restatement of second Torts §507, Pg 640 as to the complete words of the

APPLICATION: See Pg 640, paragraph 2 & 3. Mostly the trial court looking at the three class
defined in the Decker rule miss-interpreted “wrongfully” in the place as the donkey was wrong
to be on the highway but according to the court, the rights to use the highway is not exclusively
use or control by any individual. And, considering the harm was caused in a place not
exclusively belonging to D, strict liability is not applicable.

CONCLUSION: Therefore, no imposition of strict liability is present in this case and D can
collect its remedy solely from negligence
Clark Aiken Co v. Cromwell Wright Co

FACTS: P seeks to recover damages caused when water allegedly stored behind a dam on D’s
property was released and flowed on his property. The SCT judge sustained D’s demurrer on the
ground that Count II under the law of commonwealth does not allege cause of action. He held
that P can only recover through showing intentional or negligent fault of someone or entity

ISSUE: Whether D’s action constitute a dangerous activity making P’s complaint under the
strict liability doctrine a legal cause of action under the law of the commonwealth

RULE: Rest. §519 provides that one who carries on an abnormally dangerous activity is subject
to liability for harm resulting from the activity, although he had exercised the utmost care to
prevent the harm. Factors that determine whether the activity is an abnormal dangerous activity
are: Restatement factors: 1) high degree of risk-harm to the person, land or chattels of other, 2) if
gravity of harm results will likely be great, 3) inability to eliminate risk with reasonable care, 4)
activity is not a common usage, 5) inappropriateness of activity where done, 6) value of activity
to community

APPLICATION: Here, P’s property was damaged by the malfunction of the dam, but the dam
and use of the dam were not unusual or extraordinary and involved no great harm to others.
According to the Ryland’s case, strict liability is limited to uses of property that are “non-
natural” landowner using property in an unusual and extraordinary way. P must prove that D’s
activity abnormally dangerous for strict liability.

CONCLUSION: Therefore, whether the activity is abnormally dangerous is that of the trial
court considering all factors listed in this case.
Klein v. Pyrodyne Corp

FACTS: P was injured when a stray aerial shell at a 4th of July firework display landed near
them and exploded. P brought suit against D under product liability and strict liability. D filed a
motion for summary judgment and court granted for the product liability but denied the motion
for strict liability holding D was strictly liable without fault and ruled in favor of P. D appealed

ISSUE: Whether D’s public display of fireworks is an abnormal dangerous activity subjected to
strict liability when D’s 5 inch mortars went astray, exploded near P, causing serious injuries.

RULE: Determination of “abnormally dangerous activity” is a question of law, based on 6

factors from Restatement – whether risk created is so unusual to justify imposition of strict
liability for harm even if there is reasonable care. The factors are:
i. high degree of risk-harm to the person, land or chattels of other,
ii.if gravity of harm results will likely be great,
iii.inability to eliminate risk with reasonable care,
iv. activity is not a common usage,
v. inappropriateness of activity where done,
vi.value of activity to community

APPLICATION: Here, D’s fireworks displays was set off in the present of large crowds; 2)
there is a possibility that there might be a malfunction in one of the shell or rocket; 3) regardless
of how much care is been exercised, the possibility of control in setting off the fireworks
explosive is limited→ all these situations encompasses the first three factors (a)(b)(c). Factor (d)
concerns the common usage of the fireworks→ here, public fireworks display is not a common
usage b/c only a few people engage in the activities meaning or conduct the fireworks publicly.
Also the statutory prohibition of public fireworks display without a permission shows the activity
is not massively engage in. Factor (e) reflects on the appropriateness of where the activity was
conducted. In this case, the fireworks display was carried out in a suitable location; and Factor (f)
analysis the extent in which the community placed the value of fireworks over its inherent
dangerous attribute. In this case or in general, fireworks display on the celebration of this country
national independence has a long-standing tradition which suggests traditionally society placed
high value on its celebration than the risks of injuries and damages that are likely to occur.

Public policy consideration also support imposing strict liability on D’s line of work mostly b/c
the injury suffered by the innocent through the dangerous activity put on by D should not be left
to P to bear rather fairness weighs more on D to bear the loss considering they put on the
dangerous activity and considering that all possible evidence is destroyed in the cause of the
displays, it will be an impossible burden on P to show proof.
CONCLUSION: Therefore, fireworks displays constitute an abnormal dangerous activity
warranting strict liability and D should be strictly liable for the damages that incurs.