The Law School Authority

Glidden v. Szybiak Case Brief

Summary of Glidden v. Szybiak, S. Ct. of New Hampshire, 1949 

Relevant Facts: Four year old Elaine was bitten by Df dog that was sitting on the porch of the store.  Elaine climbed on his back and pulled on his ears resulting in a bite on her nose.  There were no disfiguring scars.

Legal Issue(s): Whether a trespass to chattel applies or whether Elaine trespassed against the dog or acted negligently?

Court’s Holding: Trespass of Chattel

Procedure: Trial Court found for the Plaintiff. Affirmed.

Law or Rule(s): Any person to whom or to whose property damage may be occasioned by a dog not owned or kept by him shall be entitled to recover such damage of the person who wones or keeps the dog, unless the damage was occasioned to him while he was engaged in the commission of a trespass or other tort.

One who without consensual or other privilege to do so, uses or otherwise intentionally intermeddles with a chattel which is in possession of another is liable for a trespass, if, a),b), c) bodily harm is thereby caused to the possessor or harm is caused to some person or thing in which the possessor has a legally protected interest.

Court Rationale: Harmless interference, by Elaine, with a persons chattle, toby the dog, does not constitute trespass.  No claim was advanced at trial that the dog was injured by the conduct of Elaine.  No trespass by Elaine and therefrom no restriction exists to recover for damages.

Plaintiff’s Argument: The defendant’s dog bit Elaine and caused an injury, while the dog was left unleashed in a public place.

Defendant’s Argument: Elaine was not invited to climb upon the dog, nor to pulls his ears.  This conduct is trespass and negligent.


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