Court Affirms Reasonable Care Standard For Escaped Livestock.

In companion cases involving the same livestock owner, the court upheld the long-standing and well-known Kansas rule in livestock trespass cases that the livestock owner is not liable for damages caused by escaped livestock unless the plaintiff can establish a prima facie case that the livestock owner failed to exercise reasonable care in confining the livestock.  In other words, ordinary negligence principles apply.  The cases involved the defendant's livestock that had escaped their enclosure and were hit by the plaintiff's automobile on a U.S. highway.  The trial court determined that the facts were uncontroverted that the defendant had exercised reasonable care in confining the livestock, and that the plaintiff had also failed to establish any affirmative act of the defendant that evidence lack of reasonable precaution or due care.  On appeal, the court affirmed.  The appellate court also mentioned that it was not persuaded by the plaintiff's counsel in each case of a "somewhat disingenuous and circuitous suggestion that the Kansas Supreme Court has indicated an intention to depart from the"... longstanding ordinary negligence rule in livestock trespass cases.  Both attorneys that the court scolded were non-agricultural plaintiffs' trial attorneys.  Beneke v. Smith, No. 111, 722, 2015 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 349 (Kan. Ct. App. May 1, 2015) and Kiraly v. Smith, No. 111,635, 2015 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 355 (Kan. Ct. App. May 1, 2015).  

 

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