If maintenance let my purebred Siberian husky out of my apartment, can I sue the landlord for the lost dog.

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2011

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If maintenance let my purebred Siberian husky out of my apartment, can I sue the landlord for the lost dog.

She’s worth $600.

Asked on December 5, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about the loss of your dog.

You can sue the landlord for negligence because an employer (landlord) is liable for the negligence of the employees (maintenance) which occurred during the course and scope of their employment.

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case reasonable maintenance personnel would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care) mentioned above, breach of duty (failure to exercise due care by allowing the dog to escape), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.

Actual cause means but for maintenance personnel letting the dog out, would the dog have been lost?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which would relieve the maintenance personnel and the landlord of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit.  Damages would be the $600 for the lost dog.  You could file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  Your damages would be the $600 plus court costs.  Court costs include the court filing fee and process server fee.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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