South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Injured Dog Groomer May Not Sue Dog Owner
Description Minnesota appeals court held that under the state's dog-bite statute, a dog groomer is usually considered to be the secondary owner or keeper of a dog and may not sue the primary owner of the dog for injuries inflicted by the dog.
Topic Torts
Key Words Strict Liability; Dog-Bite Statute
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Carlson worked as a dog groomer. After she had washed a dog that belonged to Friday, the dog suddenly bit her on the face. The wound required extensive stitching and left visible scars. Carlson sued Friday for strict liability under the Minnesota dog-bite statute. The district court held for Friday. Carlson appealed.

Affirmed. The statute contemplates two or three parties to a dog-bite action: the victim, the primary owner of the dog, and sometimes a secondary owner who is keeping the dog. The law prohibits secondary owners from maintaining actions against non-negligent primary owners. To be a secondary owner usually means keeping the dog under these conditions: 1) voluntary acceptance; 2) of temporary responsibility; 3) as it related to management, control, or care of dog; 4) exercised in a manner generally similar to that of the dog's primary owner. A dog groomer is a secondary owner and a keeper of the dog. Unless the dog owner has been negligent, there may be no cause of action by the keeper against the primary owner.

Citation Carlson v. Friday, ---N.W.2d--- (2005 WL 949030, Ct. App., Minn., 2005)

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