Property Owner Entitled To Summary Judgment in Action for Damages Stemming from Escaped Cattle.

A grandfather allowed his grandson to keep the grandson’s steers on his property. The cattle were cared for by the grandson and his father. Up to twice a month, the grandfather would provide water to the cattle, but the grandson was the caretaker. One evening after the grandson had cared for the cattle, two steers escaped from the grandfather’s property, causing an accident in which plaintiff was injured. The plaintiff filed a negligence action against the grandfather and the grandson. The grandson filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that the statutory presumption of negligence arising against the “keeper” or “owner” when an animal was on a public road (O.R.C. §951.02) was overcome and that he did not breach his duty of ordinary care. The grandfather sought summary judgment on the grounds that he was not an “owner” or “keeper” of the cattle, subject to the statutory presumption of negligence. The district court granted summary judgment to the grandfather, but denied summary judgment to the grandson. The court found that because the grandfather did not provide care for the cattle or maintain the gate or structure at issue, reasonable minds could not find that he exercised the requisite control over the cattle, so as to be liable. The court found, however, that a question of fact existed as to whether the grandson had met his duty of care. Vaughn v. Shepard, No. 3:13-cv-258, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50441 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 11, 2014).