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Bull Must Be Vicious for Owner to Pay for Injuries

(CN) - A man injured while chasing a bull off his property can't sue the animal's owner for damages, a New York appeals court ruled, because he failed to prove that the owner knew his bull was vicious.

Brian Meder's bull knocked down Mitchell Farnham while Farnham tried to chase it off his land.

Farnham and his wife, Sandra, sued the bull's owner for damages, but the trial court ruled that the Farnhams were unable to prove the bull was vicious.

The justices of the Albany-based Fourth Appellate Division agreed.

"Although it was undisputed that defendant knew that his bull had a propensity to break free of its enclosure and wander onto plaintiffs' property, plaintiffs failed to establish either that the bull had 'a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm' or that defendant knew of such a proclivity," the justices wrote.

"The bull's proclivity to wander was not the proclivity that resulted in the injury to plaintiff. Rather, the act that precipitated plaintiff's injury was the aggressive act of the bull in spinning around and knocking plaintiff to the ground, and plaintiff testified that the bull had never acted aggressively before the day he was injured.

"Thus, we conclude that ... there was no rational process by which the jury could have found in the (plaintiffs') favor."

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