Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Link to my article on strict liability approaches in cases of injuries caused by dogs, particularly by pit bulls

Long time readers of this blog will remember that I have been following the saga that started with the Maryland Court of Appeals decision in Tracey v. Solesky, in which the court changed the elements of a claim based on the fact that the dog in question was a pit bull. The decision generated a lot of debate and, although it took the legislature two years to do it, a bill was finally approved a few months ago to abrogate its holding.
I just finished a draft of an article in which I take a closer look at the decision, the different approaches to strict liability in dog cases and the consequences of the recently approved bill.
You can acces the full article here. I welcome your comments. Here is the abstract:

Two years ago, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a case called Tracey v. Solesky in which it modified the common law of the state related to strict liability in cases involving injuries caused by dogs. Although Solesky was neither a big departure from the applicable law at the time nor an adoption of the alternative, and more prevalent, view in other jurisdictions, the Maryland legislature eventually abrogated its holding entirely. As a result, the current applicable doctrine is a collage of different approaches and it is difficult to see how it protects victims of dog attacks more than they were protected before Solesky. This article reviews the tort law doctrines that operate to manage the costs of injuries caused by dogs and discusses the consequences of the approval of the new statute in Maryland. It concludes that instead of reverting back to the common law predating Solesky, a more careful balancing of the interests involved should have resulted in either adopting the prevalent view in the majority of jurisdictions or in an understanding of how Solesky actually advanced a better public policy than the common law it modified.


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