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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 9 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.


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