Clark v. Brings Case Brief

Summary of Clark v. Brings (1969) Pg. 632, 169 N.W.2d 407 (Minn. 1969)

Parties: Appellant – Plaintiff – Clark

Appellee – Defendant – Brings

Court: Court of Appeals, Minnesota, 1969

Facts: While babysitting for the Brings’ 3 children, Clark was bitten by their Siamese cat.

Procedural Posture: TC – ruled that the evidence was far too tenuous for submission to the jury.

Issue: Should the statute for dog bites be extended to cats?

Judgment: Affirmed TC’s decision.

Holding: The court held that cats are domesticated animals that fall into the first class that requires the plaintiff to prove 2 points to determine if the behavior of the cat was vicious and the owners are held liable. The Court said that there was insufficient evidence to determine that the cat was vicious.


Rule: 2 classes of animals and proof required

1. Domesticated Animals

– The plaintiff must prove that the particular animal was abnormal and dangerous.

– The owner or harborer let it run unfettered though he actually or constructively had knowledge of its harmful propensities i.e. knowledge usually found to have been gleaned from specific acts of the animal prior to the injury sued upon.

2. Wild Animals

– Owner is conclusively presumed to know of the danger, so a person injured need not prove such knowledge before he can recover.

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