Author Topic: Driver kills dog, then sues owners for damage  (Read 1375 times)

knny187

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Driver kills dog, then sues owners for damage
« on: May 09, 2008, 11:04:12 AM »
Driver kills dog, then sues owners for damage

Jeffery Ely hit the miniature pinscher when the dog ran onto the road

updated 8:39 p.m. CT, Thurs., May. 8, 2008
DULUTH, Minn. - The driver of a 1997 Honda Civic that struck and killed a dog near Cloquet is suing the dog's owners for damage done to his vehicle.

Jeffery Ely was driving on the night of Jan. 4 when Fester, a miniature pinscher, squeezed past owner Nikki Munthe as she was letting in her other dog and ran out onto the road. Ely's car struck Fester, killing the 13-pound dog instantly.

Now Ely is suing the Munthes for about $1,100 for damage to his car, time he had to take off from his two jobs to get the car repaired, and court fees.

Pieces of the bumper were propelled into the radiator when it hit the dog, Ely said, necessitating a replacement. Ely maintains he didn't have problems driving until after the accident and that the radiator issues were not pre-existing.

Ely said he feels sorry for the Munthes' loss but, as a dog owner himself, feels that they must be responsible for their pets' actions.

"I have complete compassion for them," Ely said. "I know how it feels. I love dogs. But once you get them, they are your responsibility."

Munthe said she has always been worried about the busy road the family lives on.

"We would have never let him off-leash because we're so terrified of this road," she said.

The case will be heard in St. Louis County Court on Friday.

The Munthes have filed a $2,400 countersuit against Ely for the cost to buy Fester, the time they had to take off work for court appearances, and the cost of buying a dog to replace Fester.

MB_722

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Re: Driver kills dog, then sues owners for damage
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2008, 11:09:42 AM »
lol

thats fucked

TrapsMcLats

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Re: Driver kills dog, then sues owners for damage
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2008, 03:27:55 PM »
the guy kinda has a point though.  it is illegal to have your dog off leash outside of your yard.  From a humanitarian standpoint, he's as giant an ass as you'll ever find, but from a legal standpoint, he's 100% correct.

MB_722

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Re: Driver kills dog, then sues owners for damage
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2008, 03:29:50 PM »
the guy kinda has a point though.  it is illegal to have your dog off leash outside of your yard.  From a humanitarian standpoint, he's as giant an ass as you'll ever find, but from a legal standpoint, he's 100% correct.

totally I agree

pedro01

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Re: Driver kills dog, then sues owners for damage
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2008, 03:41:09 PM »
I'd sue - why should I pay to repair my car because some numpty can't control their mutt.

MisterMagoo

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Re: Driver kills dog, then sues owners for damage
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2008, 08:27:07 PM »
followup: case thrown out: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/articles/index.cfm?id=66256

A St. Louis County judge threw out a case in which a man sued a dog’s owners for damages to his car after he hit and killed the animal.

Judge Gerald Maher heard the conciliation court case on Friday afternoon brought by Jeffery Ely of Cloquet against Daniel Munthe, whose 13-pound miniature pinscher, Fester, was killed in January. Both parties represented themselves.

Neither side could prove the other had been negligent, Maher said, so instead of taking the case under advisement he dismissed it.

“You don’t have a legal cause of action,” Maher said. “You never should have been here.”

The testimony was emotional at times, especially when Daniel Munthe’s wife Niki Munthe teared up when recalling retrieving Fester’s body from the road.

“He killed our dog,” she said. “Our dog had a soul. His car didn’t. His car is repairable. A soul is not.”At about 8 p.m. on Jan. 4, Niki Munthe said she was letting her other dog in from outside when Fester squeezed past her legs and escaped. Ely was driving the posted speed limit of 55 mph along Morris Thomas Road, north of Cloquet, at the same time, he said.

When Niki Munthe saw Fester was heading for the road, she said she started yelling at him to return. Her cries intensified when she realized Ely’s car was headed straight for Fester, but Ely didn’t see the mostly black dog until it was too late to slam on his brakes. After hitting Fester, Ely turned around and used his car’s headlights to help the Munthes find his body.

It was only upon driving home that he noticed his temperature gauge was out of whack, Ely said. Fester’s impact on the front end of his 1997 Honda Civic caused pieces of the bumper to lodge into the radiator, he said.

The repairs would cost about $1,000, according to two estimates Ely received. Ely returned to the Munthes’ house with his father two days later and requested help paying for the repairs, which the Munthes refused.

Ely’s liability insurance wouldn’t cover the damages, he said, so he sued the Munthes for $1,029 to cover the cost of his repairs, time he had to take off work and court fees. The Munthes had entered a $2,400 countersuit for the time they had missed from work, as well as costs to cremate Fester and buy a replacement dog. That suit also was dismissed Friday.

Though the city of Cloquet imposes leash laws, they wouldn’t apply in this case because the Munthes live outside city limits. The code is intended for people walking their dogs, said Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande, and say that no person should permit an animal to run at large. Because the Munthes did not intend Fester to run outside unleashed, Lamirande said the code probably wouldn’t apply even if they lived within city limits.

Both parties had originally agreed to settle their case on CBS’ “Judge Joe Brown” after the show’s producers contacted Ely and offered free trips to California and appearance fees. Since the paperwork had not yet gone through at the St. Louis County court, the Munthes were told to appear at their scheduled March court date.

Ely didn’t attend because he thought they still were going on the television show. The case was rescheduled to Friday.

Since the News Tribune first covered the case in Wednesday’s paper, news outlets all over the United States and Canada have picked up the story. Ely said the deluge of coverage has “ruined his reputation.”

“The dog shouldn’t have been there,” he said. “Roads are for cars, not for dogs.”

Ely said he fixed his radiator himself for $120, but doesn’t have money to repair the bumper. He said hedoesn’t plan to appeal.