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Civil Liability for Injuries Caused by Dogs after Tracey v. Solesky: New Path to the Future or Back to the Past?

28 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2014  

Alberto Bernabe

The John Marshall Law School

Date Written: June 29, 2014

Abstract

Two years ago, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a case called Tracey v. Solesky in which it modified the common law of the state related to strict liability in cases involving injuries caused by dogs. Although Solesky was neither a big departure from the applicable law at the time nor an adoption of the alternative, and more prevalent, view in other jurisdictions, the Maryland legislature eventually abrogated its holding entirely. As a result, the current applicable doctrine is a collage of different approaches and it is difficult to see how it protects victims of dog attacks more than they were protected before Solesky. This article reviews the tort law doctrines that operate to manage the costs of injuries caused by dogs and discusses the consequences of the approval of the new statute in Maryland. It concludes that instead of reverting back to the common law predating Solesky, a more careful balancing of the interests involved should have resulted in either adopting the prevalent view in the majority of jurisdictions or in an understanding of how Solesky actually advanced a better public policy than the common law it modified.

Keywords: Torts, animals, strict liability, dogs

Suggested Citation

Bernabe, Alberto, Civil Liability for Injuries Caused by Dogs after Tracey v. Solesky: New Path to the Future or Back to the Past? (June 29, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2460555

Alberto Bernabe (Contact Author)

The John Marshall Law School ( email )

315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

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