Emotional distress claims barred in case where dog was run over by delivery truck.
The plaintiff pet owners brought claims of emotional/bystander distress and recklessness against the delivery service after personally witnessing the incident that tragically killed their family dog. We filed a Motion to Strike (equivalent of 12b(6) in State of Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport), citing appellate authority that, because dogs are personal property and bystander distress arises out of human-to-human relationships, plaintiffs were barred from alleging and recovering any kind of emotional distress damages. Only the fair market value purchase cost of the pet should be permitted. The plaintiffs cited recent trial court decisions allowing such claims and going against the grain of older appellate cases. After oral argument the court sided with the defense, agreeing that for important policy concerns the plaintiff cannot prevail because the plaintiffs were asking the court to legislate and make law beyond its authoritative powers.