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TRESPASS, Intentional Torts - Conversion - Animals
Sanctions imposed for pursuing missing cat case


DECISION: Defense

CASE: Lissa Jacobson v. John Doe, No. CGC2411443

COURT: Superior Court of City and County of San Francisco, CA

JUDGE: Perker L. Meeks Jr.

DATE: November 21, 2003

PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY: Christine L. Garcia, The Animal Law Office, San Francisco, CA

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito).

FACTS & ALLEGATIONS: Plaintiff Lissa Jacobson lived next door to John Doe. On occasion, feral cats, raccoons, skunks and possums came onto Doe's property. Doe admittedly took two feral cats to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to be spayed and then allegedly released them into the neighborhood. Jacobson sued Doe, alleging that he permanently deprived her of two of her cats and they were never seen again. She further contended that Doe acted out of malice. Doe contended that he harbored no ill will toward Jacobson or her cats, that the cats were not hers and that he acted properly by participating in the SPCA's feral-fix program.

INJURIES/DAMAGES: The plaintiff claimed wrongful trespass and conversion.

RESULT: The defense motion for nonsuit was granted on all causes of action in the complaint. Sanctions pursuant to CCP § 128.7, consisting of $70,470 in attorneys fees and $7,250 in expert witness fees (totaling $77,720) and $5,869 in costs, were imposed jointly and severally against the plaintiff and her attorney, Christine Garcia of the Animal Law Office, for bringing this case.

DEMAND: An unspecified monetary payment to the plaintiff and a donation to an animal rescue non-profit organization

OFFER: None

PLAINTIFF EXPERT(S): Wendy Janet, animal, Sausalito, CA

DEFENSE EXPERT(S): None reported

POST-TRIAL: The plaintiff filed an appeal, which she later dismissed.

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