Monday, February 23, 2009

Chimp Owner Likely Strictly Liable

Media reports suggest the owner of the 200 lb. chimp who attacked a woman in Stamford last week had notice of prior safety concerns about the animal. While these facts are important to develop a negligence case against the owner, our courts are likely to impose strict liability against the owner.

While there are no reported decisions in Connecticut on chimp attacks (not surprisingly), other states have concluded that a chimpanzee’s owner is strictly liable for the animal's actions unless the victim caused the animal to attack. Generally, courts impose strict liability for wild animal attacks because keeping such animals in close proximity to humans is an abnormally dangerous activity with high risk of injury.

If dog owners are strictly liable for dog bites, I think it's safe to say the chimp lady is strictly liable for the chimp assault.

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