Goldberg Discusses Pet Litigation with The Daily Record

Phil Goldberg, a partner in Shook, Hardy & Bacon’s Washington, D.C.-based Public Policy Group, recently penned an article for The Daily Record concerning animal harm damages in pet litigation cases.

Goldberg, who has previously represented pet welfare and ownership groups before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, explained how attempts to introduce animal emotion-based damages in pet litigation could harm, not help, pets. Goldberg pointed out that the cost of “every pet’s health care, pet products and other pet services would go up to offset threatened or actual litigation,” which would be a detriment to both the pet and the owner.

Drawing from a recent Maryland case where a dog was shot by a police officer when serving legal papers at a private residence, Goldberg clarified that the court awarded the pet owners for their emotional harm but “was careful to explain that it was only allowing this award to stand in the ‘non-pet damages’ part of the case.” The officer had violated the couple’s constitutional right – “harms for which emotion-based damages are allowed regardless of whether the officer shot Brandi or ‘an expensive china vase sitting on the mantel.’”