Yes, the cat survived. He will take months to heal and probably walk with a limp forever.Your cat survived the dog attack, correct? If your cat survived, “fair market value” is not a consideration. Fair market value is used when determining the replacement costs of property.
Was their promise to pay made before or after you authorized the treatment? If it was made before, did you rely on that promise when you chose to authorize the treatment, or would you have done it regardless of their promise to pay?
This may seem like an insignificant distinction, but "Taxing Matters" merely cited and quoted Texas case law that held that pets are property and that recovery should be limited to fair market value (which is the point that I made by implication and without citation to or discussion of case law). However, this is a small claims matter, and it's often the case that anything goes in small claims court. Do you have "even a 50 percent chance" of winning in small claims court? Probably not, but no one here can intelligently rule out the possibility.From the answers I read here, it seems . . . taxingmatters has concluded I will only be able to get fair market value. Am I understanding this correctly?
No. A contract is a promise (or mutual promises) supported by consideration. Whichever individual made this alleged statement received no consideration in exchange for the alleged promise to pay, so it's not enforceable.
If the court properly applies the Strickland decision then you are limited to recovering only the fair market value of your pet or for any particular economic value your pet had. In small claims court without lawyers participating its unlikely that either side will make the court aware of the Strickland decision so it may well come down to how well the judge hearing the case knows that particular point of law. Small claims courts in some states are more rough justice places than venues where the law is strictly applied, so you might get something more than just the nominal value of your pet here. Not knowing the judge that will hear your case I'd not be willing to place a bet on the outcome either way.From the answers I read here, it seems quincy thinks there is a chance I may be reimbursed for full price of vet bills and taxingmatters has concluded I will only be able to get fair market value. Am I understanding this correctly?
As was pointed out earlier, there is no contract here. Perhaps you could try to make an argument that you reasonably relied on the homeowner's promise when getting the vet services done, though in a regular court that might be a tough sell. It might also be useful as some kind of implicit acknowledgement of negligence. It's certainly worth mentioning what he told you in the small claims trial anyway.
You correctly read Taxing Matter’s and my assessments of your chances of succeeding in a small claims action. I believe you have a better than even chance of having the court award damages in the amount of veterinarian expenses.I am planning on filing the civil suit today. I have pictures and lots of documentation. If I have even a 50 percent chance of being reimbursed for vet bills, I would like to try.
From the answers I read here, it seems quincy thinks there is a chance I may be reimbursed for full price of vet bills and taxingmatters has concluded I will only be able to get fair market value. Am I understanding this correctly?
Additionally, either the homeowner or the dog owner told the police officer they would pay for my vet bills. Is there any kind of oral contract here that can be enforced?
I will update everyone here on what happens.
In small claims court the OP might get a judgment for all the vet bills, but I wouldn't put greater than even odds on that. Given the TX case law and the fact that you don't know what judge the OP will get, I'm curious how you arrive at your optimistic assessment. If the judge does know the Texas case law and the Strickland decision the judge should not award that amount of damages. And even if the OP wins that much at the trial court, the defendant can appeal it to county court where the odds will be greater that the judge actually knows the law. I'm not saying it's not worth trying, even at low odds you sometimes hit the jackpot, but I'm not certainly as optimistic as you because the case law is clearly against the OP.You correctly read Taxing Matter’s and my assessments of your chances of succeeding in a small claims action. I believe you have a better than even chance of having the court award damages in the amount of veterinarian expenses.
Those are factors that help establish negligence. I don't think that will be the problem. The problem is the Texas case law that caps damages.The type of dog that attacked your cat is, according to many (most?) insurance companies, a dangerous breed. It should not have been running loose. It trespassed on your property, it damaged your property, you witnessed the attack. These are all factors that can work in your favor, especially if the dog owner has been cited before and/or if the dog was not properly registered.
That's always a possibility. The small claims court might award a favorable judgement and the defendant might not appeal. However, small claims courts vary significantly from one state to another. Some states the judges adhere pretty closely to the law where in others they may be more apt to do rough justice and might not follow the law. You're more likely to find the latter in states where appeals from small claims are not permitted. And it's worth noting that Texas is not quite the liberal state that NY is, and thus the judges will tend to be more conservative as well. As a result, I'd expect them to more likely to adhere to the long standing rule in property law that they learned in law school -- so even if they are not aware of the Strickland decision they might still end up applying the correct rule anyway.There was a discussion on this forum years ago about a case in New York where a “rogue” small claims court judge awarded a dog owner a significant sum of money against a defendant who had killed the dog. The decision was contrary to State law at the time that said companion animals were property. There was no appeal to the decision.
That too is a possibility, and perhaps the best choice to get a good chunk of those vet bill reimbursed. Hopefully the homeowner will decide to do the right thing and cover those bills.It is possible that the dog owner, upon receipt of a summons and complaint, will decide to settle rather than going to court.