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Punitive Damages

California Civil Code section 3340 provides: For wrongful injuries to animals being subjects of property, committed willfully or by gross negligence, in disregard of humanity, exemplary damages may be given. Courts have permitted punitive damage awards under specific circumstances. The cases provide examples:  In LaPorte v. Associated Independents, Inc., 163 So. 2d 267, 1 A.L.R.3d […]
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One-bite rule defined

The “one bite” rule says that if any domestic animal (a dog or any other domestic animal) has a propensity to do something unusual for its class (such as biting people or knocking them down), and that unusual thing is something that causes harm to person or property, and the owner of the animal is aware […]
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Parental Negligence and Immunity

In some states, a child can sue his parents for negligence. (See, i.e., Gibson v. Gibson (1971) 3 Cal.3d 914.) The traditional rule is that a child cannot sue his parents for negligence.  If the negligence of a parent combines with the negligence of another person, and the result is injury to a child, some states […]
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Limited Case

The civil courts of every state are divided into tiers based on the amount of money at stake in a case. For example, the small claims court might handle cases up to $10,000. The next higher level of court might be right for claims up to $25,000. Over that amount, there would be regular trial […]
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Expert Witness Agreement

Here are the payment terms for an expert medical witness. The actual agreement must also contain terms and conditions: Initial retainer to get started (earnest money). Subsequent retainer (when the number of hours required for all the work becomes a bit more clear). Designation fee (when the attorney names the witness as a paid expert […]
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Evidence, Spoilation of

“Spoilation of evidence” is a term that means the destruction of evidence. “Aside perhaps from perjury, no act serves to threaten the integrity of the judicial process more than the spoliation of evidence. Our adversarial process is designed to tolerate human failings—erring judges can be reversed, uncooperative counsel can be shepherded, and recalcitrant witnesses compelled […]
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Writing Formal English

Communications to, from and by a lawyer must be written in formal English or else misunderstandings will result. This applies to email messages, text messages, and anything else pertaining to the case. One must write in short sentences and use proper punctuation. For example, consider this: “I’ve heard from the city of Beverly Hills and I’m […]
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Federal Issues

Even though dog bite law is generally derived from common law (the decisions made by courts going back centuries), state statutes, and ordinances of cities and counties, there are issues that are governed by federal laws (including military regulations) or which require the enactment of federal laws. Relocating vicious dogs to neighboring jurisdictions While it […]
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