Abelseth v. City of Gillette – Case Brief Summary (Wyoming)

In Abelseth v. City of Gillette, 752 P.2d 430, 431 (Wyo. 1988), the plaintiff was bitten by a police dog and sued the city.

The Court clearly indicated that strict liability and negligence are separate theories of recovery in dog bite cases, and that an allegation of harboring a dog known to be dangerous is a claim under the former theory. Id. at 431-34.

The plaintiff's negligence claim against the city was allowed to proceed, while dismissal of the strict liability claim under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-39-101 through 1-39-120 (Michie 1987), was affirmed.

The Court held that use of the phrase "strict liability" is not determinative of the nature of a claim; rather, the question is whether the complaint raises the elements of a cause of action under Restatement (Second) Torts, supra, § 509. Abelseth, 752 P.2d at 434.