Thursday, June 12, 2014

Statutory Construction: Ambiguous Dog Bite Statute

If you’re look for a recent example of an ambiguous statute that offers room for debate, here’s one. From U.S. Law Week/Bloomberg:

A woman bit by two ranch dogs while riding in a mountain bike race will have a harder time suing the dogs' owners after a May 27 decision by the Colorado Supreme Court (Robinson v. Legro, Colo., No. 2014 CO 40, 5/27/14).

The high court interpreted the “working dog” exception to strict liability for dog attacks, Colorado Revised Statutes 13-21-124(5)(f), to apply whenever the bite occurs “on the property of the dog owner or while the dog is working under the control of the dog owner on either public or private property.”

In doing so, the court rejected the lower court's contrary interpretation: that the exception applies only on the property of the dog owner or on property controlled by the dog owner.

 You can read more here. Here is a link to the Colorado Supreme Court opinion in Robinson v. Legro.

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http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2014/06/statutory-construction-ambiguous-dog-bite-statute-1.html

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