Dogs running loose create 100K debt
In Lapeer County, Larry McDowell maintained a deer and elk farm. His animals were consistently harrassed by the neighbors dogs (apparently 13 of them). During the time period in question, he lost almost fifty percent of his animals, compared with an annual loss, normally, of only 2-3 percent. The losses stopped when Defendant got rid of her dogs, and numerous witnesses testified to the invasion of his farm by Defendant's dogs during the time period in question.
Witnesses also described individual events of harrassment by the dogs that they had witnessed. Defendant challenged the jury verdict of $100,000.00 (on a claim of $127,000.00) on the basis that Plaintiff was indulging in speculation and had not proved that her dogs were the cause of the unusual number of deaths. The Court upheld the verdict, finding that the Plaintiff presented ample circumstantial and expert evidence to support his claim. It is always difficult to persuade the trier-of-fact that a causation flaw exists if there is clear evidence of fault (in this case, trespassing dogs). Only in medical malpractice--where the Plaintiff sought intervention for a medical problem to begin with) do you commonly see successful causation defenses interposed.